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Buena Vista Social Club

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Germany, United States, United Kingdom · 1999
Rated G · 1h 45m
Director Wim Wenders
Starring Compay Segundo, Eliades Ochoa, Ry Cooder, Joachim Cooder
Genre Documentary, Music

American guitarist Ry Cooder brings together a group of legendary Cuban folk musicians (some in their 90s) to record a Grammy-winning CD in their native city of Havana. The result is a spectacular compilation of concert footage from the group's gigs, which captures not only the music -- but also the musicians' life stories.

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50 by

Lacks dramatic tension and fails to bring this great music alive. It does not sing.


Variety by Eddie Cockrell

Wenders lets the music and the sprightly people who make it speak for themselves, although the director's ongoing fascination with the urban environment is in top form as the camera serenely cruises the streets of Havana, often at a velvety dusk.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

It is a touching story, and the musicians (some over 90 years old) still have fire and grace onstage, but, man, does the style of this documentary get in the way.


Austin Chronicle by Russell Smith

Buena Vista Social Club is obviously intended less as a concert film than as a set of cinematic liner notes about the vanishing musical culture.

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