Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. Germany/USA/United Kingdom/France/Cuba, 1999. Road Movies Filmproduktion, Kintop Pictures, Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industrias Cinematográficos, ARTE, Wim Wenders Stiftung. Screenplay by Wim Wenders, original concept by Nick Gold. Cinematography by Jorg Widmer. Produced by Deepak Nayar. Film Editing by Brian Johnson. Academy Awards 1999. National Board of Review Awards 1999. New York Film Critics Awards 1999.
In the late nineties, musician Ry Cooder rediscovered the talents of many Cuban jazz musicians who had been all but forgotten over the decades, uniting them for an album named after a long-ago closed dance hall The Buena Vista Social Club. After becoming a best-seller and Cooder’s most successful work to date, director Wim Wenders asked his old friend if he could go to Cuba with him and follow him around with a digital camcorder to record the process of creating this wonderful music. What emerged is a beautifully streamlined documentary, full of fascinating stories that each of the players reveal about their personal lives and careers, and thanks to some excellent sound recording, a bastian of gorgeous music for your ears to enjoy. The final performance at Carnegie Hall is a knockout.