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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.

Director:

Leon Ichaso

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marc Anthony ... Hector Lavoe
Jennifer Lopez ... Puchi
John Ortiz ... Willie Colon
Manny Perez ... Eddie
Vincent Laresca ... Ralph
Federico Castelluccio ... Jerry Masucci
Nelson Vasquez ... Johnny Pacheco
Antone Pagán ... Papo (as Antone Pagan)
Romi Dias ... Priscilla
Jared Everleth Jared Everleth ... Tito (4 yrs.)
Bernard Hernandez Bernard Hernandez ... Tito (7 yrs.)
Christopher Becerra Christopher Becerra ... Tito (12-15 yrs.)
Andrea Navedo ... Zaida
Ismael Miranda Ismael Miranda ... Hector's Father
Tito Allen Tito Allen ... Singer
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Based on the true story of the King of Salsa, Hector Lavoe. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

Spanish | English

Release Date:

3 August 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Who Killed Hector Lavoe? See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,202,035, 5 August 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$7,556,004, 30 September 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the DVD commentary, the film was shot in only 33 days. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Periodico De Ayer
Written by C. Curet Alonso
Performed by Hector Lavoe
Published by Tite Curet Alonso Music / Fania Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Emusica Records, LLC
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It is a decent film, just not brilliant
5 August 2007 | by d-y-a-fernandezSee all my reviews

I am a massive Lavoe fan. Ever since I heard the Cosa Nuestra album with Willie. From then I made it a point to look for every bit of music he ever did. So for me this was my most anticipated movie of the year.

The good news about this film is that Jennifer and Marc do a great job of acting. Marc in particular is quite brilliant as Hector. Even his singing is decent (but of course he can't touch Hector). The cinematography is good too. Love the visuals, they've given the movie a 70's look to it which I really dug, made it more authentic. Also, every time there is a stage and the band is playing is amazing. Also, the other casting is superb - Willie Colon, Ralph Mercado, Jerry Massucci were all perfectly cast.

Bad news... it is historically inaccurate, the music is all over the place, you would think it would follow some sort of chronology. There is too much Pucchi, I know the story is told through Pucchi's eyes but it takes away from the Hector story and it means that there is too much Jennifer in it. There are parts where you see Anthony performing a killer Hector track with the band and the focus should be just Hector but the director just has to show Lopez... it doesn't work and it's overkill.

But, I think the biggest problem will be a problem mainly for non salsa listening people (and that includes latinos). I've been reading a lot of reviews by non-latinos and they just don't get why Hector was big. They don't get it because they didn't grow up with salsa and they have no history behind it. The movie is very matter-of-fact that Hector is a legend and for someone who doesn't listen to 70's salsa or wasn't brought up with it they aren't going to understand that. In salsafied countries like Colombia, Peru, Puerto Rico, Panama, etc it won't matter because Hector is a legend. But in Australia, Britain, Europe, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, China, and non-Latin US (basically any country without a history of listening to salsa) forget it. It will matter big! So I have to agree, that's what Ray did really well... explain why Ray was big and that's why it translated even in non-English countries.

Also, I think the opportunity was missed to go into a bigger story of the salsa revolution in the 70's. This music sold millions and it sold all over Latin America and even West Africa where countries were known to be fanatical about (even though they didn't understand Spanish!). To this day it's legacy is still felt, if you go to Callao in Peru, Hector's image has been painted on walls there, go to Cali in Colombia and the people worship him, etc.

I also have to agree there was way too much on the drugs, and Hector's legacy, fame, and legend were not because he took drugs, it was because the music, lyrics and his persona touched people. He was tortured but he must have been happy at times too.

My wife and I are both Hector fans (though i am the fanatic) and we both enjoyed the movie, we will actually buy the DVD when it comes out. It could've been better though.


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