Director: Wim Wenders
Most documentaries are boring. It’s a fact that somehow a real life incident or person doesn’t seem as interesting when shown as-is, rather than in widescreen format with Dolby Surround, a glamorous ensemble cast, elaborate realistic sets and lots of extra spice. However, there are always exceptions to the rule – gems like William Nessen's The Black Road (I actually had the fortune to meet him when he visited NID), Elle Flander's Zero Degrees Of Separation, Mahnaz Afzali's The Ladies’, and that greatest of all documentary musicals, Buena Vista Social Club.
The film traces the journey of American guitarist Ry Cooder and his percussionist son Joachim to
The members include the honey-voiced son and bolero singer Ibrahim Ferrer (who also plays the conga, claves and bombo), singer Omara Portuondo (the only female member, who has worked with Nat King Cole), Compay Segundo (vocals and tres), legendary pianist Rubén González, bassist Orlando "Cachaito" López, trumpet player Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal, percussionist Amadito Valdés and the younger members, laúd player Barbarito Torres, singers Manuel "Puntillita" Licea and Pío Leyva, and guitarist-singer Eliades Ochoa.
The film intersperses some of the band’s finest songs with interviews of the members speaking about their lives, along with footage of their live performances at
I went to see Buena Vista Social Club because I expected to hear some mind-blowing Cuban jazz. Not only was I not disappointed, I left the theatre with the goosebumps still on my arms, long after the notes had faded into the recesses of my memory.