Buena Vista Social Club

Originally, I was eager to watch Buena Vista Social Club. I usually like documentaries that tell about people’s lives, especially when it comes to music. However, this is not a film that I feel as if I would watch again. While I appreciate the Cuban music and culture, this documentary did not hold my interest the entire time. For the first thirty minutes, it was hard to stay focused on the film as my mind was wandering elsewhere in between parts. I am not quite sure why it wasn’t that interesting to me. I did like the architecture and scenery throughout the film, and I think that is one contributing factor that disengaged me from the actual documentary. I felt the beginning was kind of slow, however it did pick up later on. I did enjoy the music when the musicians started playing. They played with such passion; I could feel their emotion that went into it. They came together so well with their different instruments that it looked effortless. I didn’t really understand the point of the lyrics while watching the documentary, but after visiting the PBS website, I gained a deeper knowledge that they were metaphors and symbolically represented deeper meanings.

One of my favorite parts was when Ruben Gonzalez, the pianist, was introduced. The piano is one of my favorite instruments, and it was amazing to watch and listen to him play. On the PBS website, I learned that he had a severe case of arthritis, yet he still decided to play with the band. I can’t imagine what that must feel like to strike the keys with a case of arthritis. It goes to show that they are not only musicians, but music is a part of who they are as a person. To me, they live through their music, and that is very inspiring.

I wish there was a way I could think of to make this documentary more interesting for me, but I have no suggestions. Director Wim Wenders and American guitarist Ry Cooder did their job in bringing together the Cuban folk musicians; I thought some parts were boring, and some parts were entertaining. Overall, I don’t think I would recommend this film unless I knew someone interested in Cuban music. It is not a movie I would watch again, but I do appreciate these men and the music they have created.


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