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Buena Vista Social Club

  • Directed by Wim Wenders
  • Germany/Cuba/France/United Kingdom/United States, 1999, 105 mins.

In 1998, Wenders embarked on a trip to Havana with his old friend and collaborator Ry Cooder, who wanted to record a series of musical collaborations with local Cuban musicians. Accompanied by a small film crew, Wenders was able to capture the inception and execution of a project which grew into a worldwide cultural phenomenon. Calling themselves the Buena Vista Social Club, the collective of Cuban musicians (many of whom were unknown outside of their native country) recorded fourteen songs over the course of only six days. The resulting album, entitled The Buena Vista Social Club, was nominated for multiple industry awards and has to date sold over 12 million copies. From beginning to end, Wenders was able to observe and accompany the musicians on their global and musical journey; following them as they recorded the album in Havana, then on their April 1998 trip to Amsterdam for their first-ever public performance (having never played together outside a studio), and finally to their triumphal concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall in July 1998. The resulting film is a remarkable document of cross-cultural collaboration, musical inspiration, and of the meteoric rise in worldwide fame enjoyed by some of Cuba’s most legendary and long-overlooked musicians.

Genres: Documentary, Music

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