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Buena Vista Social Club
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Buena Vista Social Club (1999) More at IMDbPro »

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Buena Vista Social Club -- Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of ext


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Wim Wenders (by)
Nick Gold (original concept)
View company contact information for Buena Vista Social Club on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 June 1999 (USA) See more »
Cubas Poesie Cubas Musik, Cubas Menschen, Cubas Poesie [The music of Cuba, the people of Cuba, the poetry of Cuba] See more »
Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 20 wins & 10 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Wenders succeeds See more (79 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Compay Segundo ... Himself
Eliades Ochoa ... Himself
Ry Cooder ... Himself
Joachim Cooder ... Himself

Ibrahim Ferrer ... Himself
Omara Portuondo ... Herself
Rubén González ... Himself
Orlando 'Cachaíto' López ... Himself
Amadito Valdés ... Himself
Manuel 'Guajiro' Mirabal ... Himself
Barbarito Torres ... Himself
Pío Leyva ... Himself
Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea ... Himself
Juan de Marcos González ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Octavio Calderon ... Himself - Musician (uncredited)
Manuel Galbán ... Himself - Musician (uncredited)
Heitor Goldflus ... Man at a Manhattan Street (uncredited)
Carlos González ... Himself (uncredited)
Salvador Repilado Labrada ... Himself - Musician (uncredited)
Benito Suárez Magana ... Himself - Musician (uncredited)
Alberto 'Virgilio' Valdés ... Himself - Musician (uncredited)
Lázaro Villa ... Himself - Musician (uncredited)

Directed by
Wim Wenders 
Writing credits
Wim Wenders (by)

Nick Gold (original concept)

Produced by
Rosa Bosch .... associate producer
Ulrich Felsberg .... executive producer
Ulrich Felsberg .... producer
Deepak Nayar .... producer
Rafael Rey Rodríguez .... line producer: Cuba (as Rafael Rey Rodriguez)
Cinematography by
Jörg Widmer (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Brian Johnson 
Production Management
Kristi Lake .... post-production supervisor: Los Angeles
Linda Moran .... unit production manager: New York
Art Department
Juan de Marcos González .... artistic consultant
Sound Department
Russell Farmarco .... adr mixer: Los Angeles
Russell Farmarco .... adr supervisor: Los Angeles
Orada Jusatayanond .... sound editor: Los Angeles
Ai-Ling Lee .... sound editor: Los Angeles
Rik Meier .... supervisor: timecode sync, Amsterdam crew
Martin Müller .... production sound
Martin Müller .... sound: Cuban crew
E. Benjamin Posnack .... sound mixer: New York crew
Walter Spencer .... co-sound supervisor: Los Angeles
Walter Spencer .... dialogue editor: Los Angeles
Elmo Weber .... re-recording mixer: Los Angeles
Elmo Weber .... sound supervisor: Los Angeles
Camera and Electrical Department
Theo Bierkens .... camera operator: Amsterdam crew
Mitch Bogard .... lighting designer: New York crew
Stephen Consentino .... steadicam operator: New York crew
Brigit Hillenius .... camera operator: Amsterdam crew
Geraint Lewis .... additional still photographer: Amsterdam crew
Robby Müller .... director of photography: Amsterdam crew
Rick Pettit .... assistant lighting designer: New York crew
M. Claire Pijman .... camera operator: Amsterdam crew (as Claire Pijman)
Lisa Rinzler .... director of photography: New York crew
Richard Rutkowski .... assistant camera: New York crew
Ivan Scull .... lighting: Cuban crew
Julio Simoneau .... focus puller: Cuban crew
Susan Titelman .... still photographer
David Waterston .... camera operator: New York crew
Donata Wenders .... still photographer
Jörg Widmer .... Steadicam operator
Jörg Widmer .... director of photography: Cuban crew
Jörg Widmer .... steadicam operator: Amsterdam crew
Jörg Widmer .... steadicam operator: Cuban crew
Editorial Department
Trevor Adkinson .... assistant editor: Los Angeles
Monica Anderson .... associate editor: Los Angeles
Rolando Diaz .... colorist assistant: Los Angeles
Brian Johnson .... editor: Los Angeles
Bryson Jones .... avid technical support: Los Angeles
Linda Olague .... colorist: Los Angeles
Michael Sable .... post-production executive: Encore Video, Los Angeles
Mark Sherman .... on-line editor: Los Angeles
Gary Trentham .... assistant editor: Los Angeles
Chris Wayne .... on-line assistant: Los Angeles
Music Department
Sigfredo Ariel .... music consultant: Cuban crew
Jerry Boys .... music recordist
Octavio Calderon .... musician (as Octavio Calderón)
Joachim Cooder .... musician
Ry Cooder .... music mixer
Ry Cooder .... musician
Juan de Marcos González .... consultant: artists & repertoire
Juan de Marcos González .... musician
Angel Terry Domech .... musician
Ibrahim Ferrer Jr. .... musician
Ibrahim Ferrer .... musician
Manuel Galbán .... musician
Roberto Garcia .... musician
Hugo Garzón .... musician
Nick Gold .... executive music producer
Carlos González .... musician (as Carlos Gonzalez)
Rubén González .... musician
Salvador Repilado Labrada .... musician (as Salvador Repilado)
Manuel 'Puntillita' Licea .... musician
Orlando 'Cachaíto' López .... musician
Benito Suárez Magana .... musician (as Benito Suárez)
Manuel 'Guajiro' Mirabal .... musician
Eliades Ochoa .... musician
Gilberto 'Papi' Oviedo .... musician
Tomas Casanova Perera .... piano tuner: Cuban crew
Alejandro Pichardo .... musician
Yanko Pichardo .... musician
Omara Portuondo .... musician
Jesús 'Aguaje' Ramos .... musician
Steven A. Reich .... music rights clearance: Berlin (as Steven Reich)
José Antonio Rodríguez .... musician
Rail Rogut .... music mixer
Compay Segundo .... musician
Barbarito Torres .... musician
Alberto 'Virgilio' Valdés .... musician
Amadito Valdés .... musician
Lázaro Villa .... musician
Transportation Department
Guillermo Iglesias .... driver: Cuban crew
Diosdado Navarro .... driver: Cuban crew
Armando Roche .... driver: Cuban crew
Other crew
Jenny Adlington .... director of marketing and artist relations
Zita Marina Morrina Atia .... assistant: Wim Wenders, Cuban crew
Ken Beltrone .... stage crew: New York crew
Ina Bialas .... accounting: Berlin
Denise Booth .... project coordinator: Berlin
John Cardinale .... stage crew: New York crew
Rose-Marie Couture .... project coordinator: Berlin
Rafael Cruz .... protocol: Cuban crew
James Csollany .... stage crew: New York crew
Jolanda Darbyshire .... assistant: Wim Wenders, Berlin
Olga María Fernández González .... production assistant: Cuban crew
Paul Frocchi .... provider: post-production equipment: Los Angeles
John Goodson .... stage crew: New York crew
Victor Gutierrez .... accountant: Cuban crew
Luis Juara .... assistant: Cuban crew (as Luis Juana)
Oswaldo Lima .... assistant: Cuban crew (as Osvaldo Lima)
Javier Castillo Mares .... runner: Cuban crew
Dennis O'Connell .... stage crew: New York crew
Claudia Pauly .... accounting: Berlin
Vesna Rudinac .... accounting: Berlin
Sven Sauër .... production assistant: Amsterdam crew
Luba Schatzberg .... office coordinator: New York crew
David Stallbaumer .... stage manager: New York crew
Erich Thum .... tax advisor: Berlin
Kai-Peter Uhlig .... legal services coordinator: Berlin
David Vigdor .... production assistant: New York crew
Gliceria Abreu .... thanks
Annie Bataillard .... thanks: Arte
David Bither .... thanks: Nonesuch Records
Susan Cooder .... thanks
Daniel Del Solar .... thanks
Robert Eisenhauer .... thanks
Gustovo Fernandez .... thanks: ICAIC
Dani Florestano .... thanks
Ivan Giroud .... thanks: Havana Film Festival Office
Klaus Grohmann .... thanks: German Embassy in Havana, Cuba
Alfredo Guevara .... thanks: ICAIC
Caroline Haertel .... thanks: Arte
Candice Hanson .... thanks
Clair McFadden .... thanks
Bertha Navarro .... thanks: Tequila Gang, Mexico
Reinhard Penzel .... thanks: Sony Broadcasting Europe
Judith Reuter .... thanks: Sony Broadcasting Europe
Michael Sable .... thanks
Wendy Sellars .... thanks
Eli Silvrants .... thanks
Martin Singer .... thanks
Caridad Perez Valdés .... thanks
Robert van Ommen .... thanks: Mojo Concerts
Camilo Vives .... thanks: ICAIC
Franz von Kouwen .... thanks: Mojo Concerts
Wim Westerveld .... thanks: CHAZZ Agency
Crew believed to be complete

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
105 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The Buena Vista Social Club album was put together by guitarist Ry Cooder in 1997 as a means of recapturing the "lost" music of pre-revolutionary Havana. The story was later made into this movie.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)See more »
SilencioSee more »


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26 out of 32 people found the following review useful.
Wenders succeeds, 14 October 1999
Author: mambogod from islington, london, england

This is a top class film in so many ways.

To start with, there is the amazing backdrop of dilapidated old Havana, which Wenders admittedly got for free. Nevertheless, he pulls out shots which are so luminous and well constructed that they make you gasp, and all done on a digital betacam! This makes BVSC one of the few documentaries I have ever seen which must be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated. Although I've never been to Havana, it also appeared to me that Wenders may have judged well in his balance by showing Havana as a poor broken down city and not just a place full of '50s cars, grand old buildings and omnipresent "faded glory".

The stars of the film are the old folks, of course. In some ways, the point of the film is not music - this could have been a film about people from any field. Instead, this is simply a record of what people have to say looking back on experiences from their lives which we can never repeat.

Perhaps there was a slight temptation at editing stage to steer the film towards certain themes. There was without a doubt rather a lot of places where the intended conclusion of the audience seemed to be "wow - old men can be cheeky... and they still have libidos!", but maybe only they can say whether the men themselves consider the film to be a fair reflection of the whole of their personalities, and I doubt we will ever find out.

Two points about the musical side. First, I continue to worry about Ry Cooder and his son Joaquim. Do they really need to be there? Ferrer and the old timers all kept tight lipped about Ry's slide guitar, NOT, I thought a prerequisite instrument of the average Cuban "son" band, and dare I say it, distractingly awful in at least one place in the film. Can't comment so much about Joaquim's style when playing the drums, but there must surely be some 50-90 year old cuban drummer cursing his luck that he isn't in on the party thanks to Cooder Jr.?

Second, what do Ferrer et al think about the music they are making now? How does it compare to how they considered they performed in decades gone by? Might they freely admit (as I suspect, honest and carefree as they clearly are) that they are reproducing now something which they did a lot better when they were younger? The question was never asked.

It's a tough point to make, but the average "son" singer does not I imagine consider at the outset of his career that he will only be hitting his peak in his eighth or ninth decade! If they do admit to having had a golden period in the past, why did Wenders not let us see footage of some of that. I doubt if any but a few of his audience have any knowledge of the Cuban music of the 40s and 50s so as to judge with any accuracy what merit there is in the music they are creating today. And without that, the risk is that the players are being cheered not for their musical skills but merely as museum pieces and for the fact that they are capable of doing it at their age at all. I had the slightly uneasy feeling by the end of the film that Wenders might have excluded old footage on the basis that it would show up the modern recordings as something less than the genre at its best.

You should go and see it and then tell me why I am wrong on those points, which hardly dent my rating for this as a definite 9+!

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