Combustible Celluloid
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With: Compay Segundo, Eliades Ochoa, Ry Cooder, Joachim Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez, Barbarito Torres, Omara Portuondo
Written by: Wim Wenders
Directed by: Wim Wenders
MPAA Rating: G
Language: English, Spanish with English subtitles
Running Time: 106
Date: 02/16/1999

Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Our Band in Havana

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buena Vista Social Club follows the Grammy-winning Cuban supergroup of the same name in a wonderful, relaxed documentary directed by Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire). We're introduced to the band members -- ranging in age from their 40s to their 80s -- slowly over the course of the whole movie. We're also reminded that these artists had been all but forgotten until this band was formed by American guitarist Ry Cooder. Wenders, who adores music as much as movies, is not interested in too many hows, whys, whens, or wheres. He simply wants to spotlight this band and its stories, and he succeeds, although the movie uses only chopped-up parts of their enchanting songs. The movie received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary.

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