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El cantante (2006)

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The life story of Hector Lavoe who started the salsa movement in 1975 and brought it to the United States.



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as David Darmstaedter) | 3 more credits »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jared Everleth ...
Tito (4 yrs.)
Bernard Hernandez ...
Tito (7 yrs.)
Christopher Becerra ...
Tito (12-15 yrs.)
Ismael Miranda ...
Hector's Father
Tito Allen ...


The rise and fall of salsa singer, Héctor Lavoe (1946-1993), as told from the perspective of his wife Puchi, who looks back from 2002. In the early 1960s, Héctor arrives in New York from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Success comes quickly. "The more he grew as an artist," Puchi says, "the more he sank as a person." It's a tale of talent - creating salsa with Willie Colón, with the Fania All Stars, and as a soloist - and a story of disintegration - fueled by drugs, alcohol, partying, and depression. Puchi's voice - proud and querulous - dominates off-stage as Héctor's does on. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


America discovered him. One woman understood him. But no one could save him from himself.... See more »


Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug use, pervasive language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

3 August 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Who Killed Hector Lavoe?  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,202,035 (USA) (3 August 2007)


$7,556,004 (USA) (28 September 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During Filming a fire broke out in Jennifer Lopez's trailer though no-one was injured. See more »


In the scene where Hector Perez signs his contract with Jerry Masucci, and is given the name Hector La Voe. Willie Colon is standing behind him. On the wall behind Willie is a framed album cover of "The Hustler", the second album they made together. At this point in the story they have not yet recorded together. See more »


Puchi: What ever happened to your brother?
Hector Lavoe: He died when he got here. He was supposed to take care of me.
Puchi: Well, I guess we'll just have to take care of each other, okay?
See more »


Featured in HBO First Look: The Making of 'El Cantante' (2007) See more »


It's Time for Christmas Crooner
Written by Stephen Edwards
Performed by Michael Dees
Published by Engine Co 35 (ASCAP) & Source in Sync Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of 5 Alarm Music
See more »

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User Reviews

I don't want a documentary.
28 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jennifer Lopez can act, Gigli notwithstanding. In El Cantante she narrates the life of 70's Salsa songster Hector Lavoe (Marc Anthony) with some sparks of creative energy. After all, as Puchi, she smoke, drank, and took drugs with him on his way to stardom, inevitable obscurity, and early death. Enabler? Maybe. Witness the Ray Charles, Kurt Cobain arc and you'll know how Hector's life sank so low (no homonym pun intended).

El Cantante is a disappointment because the celebrity couple Lopez and Anthony could have had Oscar flyovers with better script and direction. Many of the scenes are stock musical biopic: low-angle shots of the star strumming and singing, cut to drugs, cut to wife, back to another performance moment, cut to a Fania album cover, all with MTV swift editing and few scenes of depth that are not clichés of the first order.

Clint Eastwood's life of Charlie Bird Parker is a classic of character development; the recent La Vein Rose about chanteuse Edith Piaf depicts the artist sufferer in a mixed bag of time but a straightforward rendition of talent. Cantante shows a druggie who might have been an icon but for his weaknesses. If I have to sit through drug and alcohol addled performers once more, I need better story, regardless of how accurate the film is.

I don't want a documentary—I want an interpretation. Cantante is just a musical like any other, no more.

20 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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