EL CANTANTE: DVD
It's the 1970s and the salsa revolution is in full swing. Hector Lavoe (Marc Anthony) is the singer whose voice can move millions and whose passion moves one woman, his wife Puchi (Jennifer Lopez). But when the spotlight brings Lavoe's personal demons and addictions to light, it will take the incredible devotion of his wife to put him on the path to becoming the legend he was born to be.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Starting with an attention grabbing scene (in B&W) in 2002 New York, with a testy Puchi (Jennifer Lopez) starting an interview about Hector Lavoe (Marc Anthony), known as El Cantate. The film soon swings into its story mode in 1985 (in colour), this time with Puchi having a bath - another attention grabber. And she's still testy. Hector is a big salsa star; and still a big user of drugs. The film jumps back in time to Puerto Rico in 1963, at the start of Hector's singing career. He was good; as Puchi puts it, 'he was musical even when he was insulting someone'.
Puchi also notes that the bigger he got as an artist, the lower he sank as a person. It's hard to see from the film what she saw in him, actually, apart from a good voice and a sense of fun that energized his performances - even when stoned. Backwards and forwards in time, the film covers a lot of music (very good, too) and lots of partying, cocaine snorting and mainlining. It was the 70s, says Puchi by way of explanation.
Jennifer Lopez is superb as Puchi, delivering a totally credible, multi dimensional character. And she looks sensational. Her off screen husband Marc Anthony also inhabits his character and there is plenty of sparks between them - whether in good times or bad.
Director Leon Ichaso handles the material with pace and brio, adding little touches like the stylish way he displays the English lyrics to Hector's Spanish language songs. He also handles the shifts in mood as Hector's life spirals out of control, helped by David Tedeschi's adroit editing. The film is a heartfelt tribute to the man's legacy - and to Salsa itself.
Published July 17, 2008
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EL CANTANTE: DVD (MA15+)
CAST: Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, John Ortiz, Nelson Vasquez
PRODUCER: Julio Caro, Simon Fields, Jennifer Lopez, David Maldonado
DIRECTOR: Leon Ichaso
SCRIPT: Leon Ichaso, David Darmstaeder, Todd Bello
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Claudio Chea
EDITOR: David Tedeschi
MUSIC: Willie Colón,[BREAK]Andrés Levin
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sharon Lomofsky
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: The sound and heat of El Cantante; deleted scene; trailer
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Force Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: April 16, 2008
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.