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Ry Cooder and Wim Wenders have known each other for 20 years, and worked together on the feature films Paris Texas and The End of Violence. Cooder enthused Wenders with his experiences in Cuba, and wanted to record an album with veteran Ibrahim Ferrer, and all the musos who played on the Grammy winning Buena Vista Social Club album of 1997. This time Wenders a small film crew accompanied Cooder to Cuba, to record the 'members' of that old club, musos who had started out playing in what is now a dilapidated old house in Havana, which once resounded to their fabulous music.

Review by Louise Keller:
Profoundly moving and filled with all the passion and colours of Cuban rhythms, Buena Vista Social Club is a celebration of life in an unforgettable, unique musical journey. Music is the pulse - it is as natural and spontaneous as life itself - its constantly evolving motion replicated cinematically.

Images of Havana's narrow streets, the textures, the nuances, the poverty, the lifestyle, the spontaneity and joy of living are at one with the music. Through Ry Cooder, we meet the musicians whose lives are etched deep on their faces. Perfect pitch and subtle execution make it look so easy.

We are humbled by their stories. And together they create music that feeds the soul. Among them, we meet Ibrahim Ferrer, a 71 year old Cuban Nat King Cole, Ruben Gonzalez, 80, with fingers that dance vivaciously on the ivories, Compay Segundo at 92 has been puffing on cigars since he started lighting them for his grandmother 87 years ago.

They've not had an easy ride, and at an average age of 70, they may not fit your idea of music idols. But successful they are; they are equally at home singing in the poverty stricken streets, as they are in Carnegie Hall. After all, it's not about anything except the music. It's rhythmic, laid-back and coated with romance and passion. This is not a glossy Hollywood production but a guts 'n all encounter with extraordinary talented characters that we will never forget.

From Amsterdam to Havana and New York City, we are privy to an experience of a lifetime. Music from the heart, Buena Vista Social Club is a hugely enjoyable and energetic jam; a confirmation that the magic of dreams can come true.

DVD special features include scene selections, crew information, trailer, musical information, production notes, additional scenes and interactive menus.

Published January 24, 2008

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(US, 1999)

CAST: Documentary with Ry Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo, Ruben Gonzales, Omara Portuondo, Eliades Ochoa

PRODUCER: Ulrich Felsberg, Deepak Nayar

DIRECTOR: Wim Wenders

SCRIPT: Wim Wenders

EDITOR: Monica Anderson, Brian Johnson

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen 16:9

SPECIAL FEATURES: Scene Selections, Crew Information, Theatrical Trailer, Musical Information, Production Notes, Additional Scenes and Interactive Menus.


DVD RELEASE: May 14, 2003

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