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Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

  Directed by: Wim Wenders
Written by: Wim Wenders
Starring: Ry Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, Eliades Ochoa, Omara Portuondo, Compay Segundo
Links: Buena Vista Social Club on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD
Genre: Documentary

This movie gets: 9.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"A thigh-slappingly fun time" - a review by pearly

Buena Vista Social Club warms you up, right down to the cockles of your heart. It's such a superb film, and it's full of fun to boot. Just the thought of this film makes me grin from ear to ear.

Based around some of Cuba's musical legends, Buena Vista Social Club is a documentary about Ry Cooder's trip to Cuba to hook up with some of these legends, and bring their music back into prominance. It was, it has to be said, a pretty bloody successful trip.

Through the course of the film, we're introduced to each of Cooder's finds one by one, learning a little about their history, and then taking a focus on what they bring to the Social Club performance-wise. And then, we're treated to song after song of their brilliant music.

If you don't find the music to your tastes, you may not get as much out of this film as I did, but I fell in love with the Cuban groove after watching this documentary for the first time, and it's still something I listen to when I'm in the mood for something fun. It was great to watch the documentary again after having listened to the various albums so many times, and to be able to read the lyrics and learn what the songs are about adds an extra dimension to the music.

One of the fun things that I enjoyed whilst watching the film was trying to pick my favourite member of the club. As each new member begins his or her story, I would think, "okay, this guy is my favourite", but then he'd be overtaken when the next person showed up. Each of them has such a tale to tell, such a history, and to see them succeeding at this late stage of their career is bittersweet, but a joy to watch. Anyone who doesn't fall in love with each and every one of them, as well as their music, has surely got no heart.

pearly gives this movie 9 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 23 Mar 2006

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