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4.6 out of 5 stars81
4.6 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2011
Everything about Cuba has fascinated me since the sixties. I was lucky enough to visit Cuba four years ago and loved every minute of the three weeks travelling from one end to the other. This DVD was recommended this holiday time to me. The DVD gives a real feel for the country and it's music, ending with the performance at Carnegie Hall, NY - tears of joy!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2000
I saw this film in cinema and it was very good but seeing it on DVD again, it was much better. The colour and texture are nearly edible. the music is a1. i have since bought all the cd in the Buena Vista Social Club coll.(6 in all). It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentroy in 2000 and also won a whole host of grammy's. I want to go to Cuba now and so will you...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 20 April 2004
This film is in many ways an absolute joy - full of passion and humanwarmth, identifying how music is core to the lives of these ageingmusicians in a run down Cuban society.
From some perspectives, thisvery personal and emotional quality may be expressed in a rambling way -little by way of formal structure, just an opportunity for these people toexpress themselves in words and music. But as an archive of a greatperiod of Cuban music, this is a unique and wonderfulrecord.
Ironically, one way in which the film is lacking is that theconcert footage is fragmented and not the best quality. Consequently, itfails to illustrate the cohesion and enjoyment the musicians gain fromplaying in a big band. I could have enjoyed more and better music - thefilm sure leaves you wanting more.
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on 27 February 2009
It would be difficult not to be moved by this truly excellent film.

A group of world class musicians who have been rescued from obscurity by the tenacity of Juan de Marcos González (Afro-Cuban All Stars) and Ry Cooder are given the showcase they deserve. If you have little experience of Cuban Music this DVD is a great introduction as you can see how it works and the characters behind the sound. There is a selection of different styles from the relaxed, intimate love songs of bolero and danzón, to Son, through to the driving celebrations of mambo and rumba.

But don't just buy the DVD for musical ability (though that is outstanding). There is a passion in these musicians that goes far beyond musical ability. Some, such as Rubén González emerge from retirement and Ibrahim Ferrer is encouraged back into singing after working on the streets for more than 10 years. But when these forgotten Cuban legends are united in Egrem Studios, Havana, a spark ignites which is fanned into a flame and ultimately an inferno.

This is also a film about life, hardship, values and ultimately, about a fairy tale ending as they find global recognition through their recordings to perform in Amsterdam and their ultimate 'jewel in the crown', Carnegie Hall, New York in July 1998.

Many of these stars have now sadly passed away, including the recent loss of bass player Orlando 'Cachaíto' López (Feb 2009), but they leave a legecy that has sparked new interest in Cuban music. Wim Wenders' filming is sensitive and provides a real canvas on which to draw the characters. American guitar great Ry Cooder appears throughout the film and it is clear from the footage that he holds these men and women of history in great esteem, which is clearly reciprocated througout the 100 minutes.

This red cover DVD, which is pretty much identical to the yellow cover collectors edition (except that there isn't a booklet inside this one. It is also considerably cheaper than some of the other offerings and a gift at the price.

Oh! And if you're easily moved, have a box of tissues ready: the impact of sharing in their joy and in the appreciation of the crowds who witnessed their performances may just overwhelm you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2011
... but if you want to feel the atmosphere and hear some of their most popular songs, this is the one to buy.

Saw them in Plymouth (UK) earlier this year (2011). Now 1999 is quite a long time ago in the life of the BVSC, so don't expect (as I did) to see too many of the players on this recording when they come to your town!

Just as an aside here. If you like BVSC, try 'Asere', especially their album 'Destinos'. They are another, younger(!) Cuban band very much in the BVSC mould. Saw them at Dartington Hall's Home Festival in 2010. They were great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2012
This is one of the most touching films I've seen for ages. Ry Cooder (Brilliant, look him up) goes in search of this old long forgotten group all very aged. He finds them in Cuba and the story goes on from there. I bet you won't be able to stop yourself from purchasing a CD of them when you see the film. Alas most of them (if not all) are now passed away and I only wished I had gone to Cuba or one of their concerts to see them when they were all together. One of the wishes that never gets done and remembered with great regrets. Dc
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2005
Filmmaker Wim Wenders and guitarist Ry Cooder's documentary of nearly extinct Cuban music of the 1940s and 50s is a refreshing musical treat. The human face put on the Cuban people is a welcome vacation from fifty years of demonizing them and their leaders. In other words, this is an a-political and purely musical, cultural survey of great musicians who Cooder had to first locate in Cuba, dust them off, and then bring them back to musical life by rehearsing with them in Havana.
The concert tour of the Buena Vista Social Club in Amsterdam and winding up at Carnegie Hall in New York City are wonderous sights and sounds to behold. Golden voiced vocalist and smiling spiritual leader of the group, the ancient Ibrahim Ferrer (who subsequenetly made several CDs, now sold at It would have been wonderful to make a sequel of pure musical performances of the group (without Cooder) of their entire repertoire. However, this VHS captures enough of the Buena Vista Social Club's performances to render this documentary a worthwhuile musical experience.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2009
This is a must seen.The Cuban musicians are so talented!And this is a sign of what being an artist means, nothing to do with money but with the soul,and obviously nothing to do with age.It is a pleasure to the senses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2015
Wonderful music, wonderful story, wonderful buildings and cars, star people. The musical legacy in Cuba is tangible--it's everywhere, and a pleasure. Just back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2012
one of my all time favourite, the atmosphere, the music, the colors, the tenderness...
a great great movie I would view again and again every now and then
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