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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far more than the sum of its (very rhythmic) parts
I got the CD for Christmas and to be honest, only really like two or three tracks. But the film knocked my socks off.
It's effectively a series of film portraits of great Cuban musicians, a record of their music and a recording of two concerts where they all came together in Amsterdam and in Carnegie Hall. But the sum of its parts is far more than that.
The...
Published on 25 Jan 2005 by Ruth Hartnup

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars for the doc film - the music is another matter.
The music on this dvd is magic, with the proviso that I really think Ry Cooder should have stayed in the control room/off-stage and out of the mix. Slide guitar has no place in this music. It's very puzzling to me that Cooder failed to see that. Perhaps Wenders's comment that Cooder "kept to the back row" in the concerts and was way back in the sound mix...
Published on 5 Jan 2006 by C. Nation


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Viva Cuba, 15 July 2011
By 
JayBrechin (Brechin, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Buena Vista Social Club [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Buena Vista Social Club dvd, 3 Jan 2011
This review is from: Buena Vista Social Club [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
The movie is a favourite one of my husband. We have been looking for the DVD for months yet if not for years... And finally I found it on Amazon UK and my husband received it as a Christmas gift. How happy he was!!! The musicians and the music are great: deeply moving, relaxing, very emotional. I highly recommend this DVD to everyone who likes latin music and real life stories.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cuban beauty, 20 April 2004
By 
Andy Millward (Tiptree, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Words & Music (I'd give it 6 stars if I could!), 27 Feb 2009
By 
Dr. M. S. Wood "Stuart Wood" (Loughborough, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUSICAL TREASURE FROM CUBA, 14 Jan 2005
By 
F. Sweet (Midwestern USA) - See all my reviews
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 Amazon.com). 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGLY RECOMMEND IT, 16 Aug 2013
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IF YOU WANT TO LISTEN REALLY GOOD MUSIC FROM THE HEART OF LA HAVANA CUBA THIS IS THE MOVIE YOU ARE GOING TO LIKE IT
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buena Vista Social Club DVD, 15 July 2013
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This review is from: Buena Vista Social Club [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
A thoroughly enjoyable, and very well made, film and Cuban music documentary, and an immortal piece of muscial history. A superb DVD!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 12 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Buena Vista Social Club [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
Great sounding documentary with a lot of sightseeing from Cuba.Many live performances from gigs in Amsterdam.Just buy and enjoy .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant,Brilliant, 9 May 2012
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have for a DVD collection, 24 April 2012
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This review is from: Buena Vista Social Club [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
Loved it from start to finish, can really say no more. Just buy it and watch it to appreciate it.
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Buena Vista Social Club [1999] [DVD]
Buena Vista Social Club [1999] [DVD] by Wim Wenders (DVD - 2009)
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