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The Independent Critic

Ry Cooder and the Buena Vista Social Club
Wim Wenders
Rated PG
105 Mins.
 "Buena Vista Social Club" Review 

As written and directed by legendary director Wim Wenders, the Oscar nominated documentary "Buena Vista Social Club" is an insightful, entertaining and well produced documentary based upon the lives of aging Cuban musicians brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder. The result is musical illumination and commentary from these musicians on their lives in Cuba and in music.

Cooder, who has always been known as a bit of a folk/world music master, seems wonderfully at home here in the recording sessions and concerts involving the "Buena Vista Social Club".

It is nearly impossible to watch this documentary without being moved...scenes of these musicians, several close to 90, makes clear their love of music and, despite being nearly forgotten since Castro's takeover of Cuba, the talent, heart and inspiration remains for all of them.

Wenders, always a stylish and visual director, beautifully captures the spirit of Havana and the cinematography for the film sparkles with history and excitement.

"Buena Vista Social Club" is a documentary of hope, of spirit and of the power that music has to overcome oppression and to bridge cultural differences. Ry Cooder, who recorded this album in 1997, simply must be admired for his efforts to re-discover these lost gems of world music.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic