Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB is too much of a good thing.  Based on Ry 
Cooder's same-titled CD, the rambling, repeating, and ostensibly 
overlong documentary has plenty of good Cuban music.  (Afro-Cuban, 
actually, not that swingin' Mambo stuff.)  Plus some humor, several 
flashes of obvious virtuosity, and all that distressing, depress-
ing, and endlessly fascinating (digitally shot) footage of Havana 
circa 1998, though looking more like 1958.  Director Wim Wenders 
(WINGS OF DESIRE) cuts back and forth between footage of the re-
cording sessions and later reunion concerts in Amsterdam and New 
York.  At least, that's what I *think* was presented.  The film 
presumes a familiarity with the CD that I didn't have, so maybe I 
was watching footage filmed entirely after the fact.  Heck if I 
know...  Ry Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo, Ruben Gonzalez,
Pio Leyva, Manuel "Puntillita" Licea, Eliades Ochoa, and Omara Por-
tuondo star.  (Rated "G"/101 min.)

Grade: B 

Copyright 1999 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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