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Buena Vista Social Club
Buena Vista Social Club
Actors: Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, Eliades Ochoa, Ry Cooder
Director: Wim Wenders
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
G     2000     1hr 45min

"The Buena Vista Social Club" guitarist Ry Cooder s celebrated album featuring the recently re-discovered talents of Cuba s foremost folk musicians sold millions of copies and earned a Grammy Award. Now Cooder teams up wit...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, Eliades Ochoa, Ry Cooder
Director: Wim Wenders
Creators: Wim Wenders, Brian Johnson, Deepak Nayar, Rosa Bosch, Ulrich Felsberg
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Buena Vista Social Club, Jazz, International, Educational, Documentary, Biography, History
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Full Screen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/17/2000
Original Release Date: 06/04/1999
Theatrical Release Date: 06/04/1999
Release Year: 2000
Run Time: 1hr 45min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Full Screen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Subtitles: English
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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 10/19/2010...
An absolutely great insight into a country forbidden from visiting by U.S. Government, even though they had established a major prison on that soil. Aside from all the 1984 overtones, the DVD portrayed a wonderful cultural ambiance through low-key engaging musical interludes of Cuban rhythms and the romance of an era.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Buena Vista Social Club
Mike Baker | 12/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I could have stayed to watch Buena Vista Social Club all day and all night. The film traces master guitarist Ry Cooder's seemingly endless search for more musical legends to play with, as he takes us to Cuba to meet the masters of "Son" music. The result is a warm, beautiful and touching portrait of the aging "Son" masters emerging from a long hiatus to show us they haven't lost their touch. Cooder has long sought out masters of "roots" music to learn from and play with. This time he found his way into a diamond mine, and the resulting three albums, "Buena Vista Social Club", "Afro-Cuban All-Stars" and "Introducing Ruben Gonzales" could all have won the 1998 Grammy award, as the former actually did.The film follows the aging Son musicians around their native Cuba as they prepare for overseas concerts in both Holland and New York City. The city of Havana shows the effects of aging itself, run down and seedy, but, as with the musicians themselves, there is a spirit of unity and inner strength that overrides the worn down facade. That spirit emerges quickly as you see how deeply the Cubans feel their music. You also see a country that preserves the old and makes it work personified in the "antique" automobiles the Cubans use to get around.Several musicians are featured in the film, but two gain the film's focus, jazz pianist Ruben Gonzales and singer Ibrahim Ferrer, the "Cuban Frank Sinatra". Gonzales no longer has a piano and plays one in a gymnasium reserved for Cuban gymnasts. Ferrer feels the public no longer appreciates his music and is shining shoes to supplement a tiny retirement. Ry Cooder and his son Joachim (sp?), a talented drummer, try to stay as far in the background as possible. Cooder's style is to sit at the feet of the masters to learn and participate. I think the director, Wim Wenders, gives him more face time than he would prefer. No matter, as he is a wonderful musician and facilitator, without whom the original project and the film would not have happened.Wenders weaves the music and the life of the musicians in a pattern that draws the audience into the lives of the musicians, especially Ferrer. I was very familiar with the music from the three albums and that made my experience with them almost personal. I was excited as I saw the rehearsals draw the musicians closer and tighter. They became young again as the music started flowing from them. The culmination of the film is the concert at Carnegie Hall. I was fully engaged by then and I had chills when the Son music was playing and when the audience responded with such enthusiasm. I had tears of pleasure as the music flowed over me. I've recommended this film to many of my friends, and they all have gone out of their way to thank me. I don't think I've seen another film in 1999 that I've liked better. I'll paraphrase what Ry Cooder says to his son in the film, "This is the kind of opportunity that comes once in a lifetime"."
So much talent. The spirit of music in the raw!
Eduardo Middleton K. | Santiago, A.M. Chile | 01/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After all that's been said about the Grammy award winner album by Ry Cooder, I had to watch this superb documentary. They were right, this film deserves, also an award. Reknown musician and singer Ry Cooder sits back as Dream Team coach and lets this long forgotten talents of cuban music tell him naturally their stories, like Ibrahim Ferrer's recording debut at age 72 or Compay Segundo's 90 year old romance intentions. The heartwarming side of this film probably is the chance that this very talented singers and musicians have to fulfill every musician's dream concert: full house attendance at the legendary Carnegie Hall and Amsterdam. They also get to know the Big Apple and display child-like innocence and awe. One of the mayor acheivements of the film is how Wim Wenders blends the cuban studio and city shots with the actual concerts in N.Y. and Amsterdam. This is Not a concert though. All the songs are blended with interviews or Havanna scenaries.The video quality is very good, but don't expect IMAX or so. The sound quality is impecable and there are some extras (a couple of full songs). If you want an experience beyond ethnic music (which is great) but into ethnic discovery (which is grater) buy this gem."
This film will inspire you to jump on the next plane to cuba
Eduardo Middleton K. | 10/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"this is literally one of the greatest movies i've ever seen. wim wenders is an excellent, though often overlooked, director who managed to compliment an ideal narrative with pure, optical pleasure. the films storyline reflects perfectly the sensations of the individualls involved. you will leave the film with a feeling of placidity, comfort, and radiant warmth, which one can only find through (or in this case viewing) the endeavors of maximum human achievement. also, the film communicates well the essence of cuban culture, of which american's are usually unaware. if nothing else sells you, just imagine the fun of watching cute, old men who thought the world had forgotten them play their little instruments and light up with life. it's wonderful."