New York Times Gives Glowing Review of “Buena Vista Social Club Adios”

New York Times Gives Glowing Review of “Buena Vista Social Club Adios”

BuenaVistaSocialClub (2)

“Review: ‘Buena Vista Social Club: Adios,’ Analytical but Still Loving”

From the New York Times, May 24, 2017
By

  • NYT Critic’s Pick
  • Directed by Lucy Walker
  • Documentary
  • PG
  • 1h 50m

“In Wim Wenders’s 1999 documentary, “Buena Vista Social Club,” Ry Cooder, who helped unite once-forgotten masters of Cuban popular song for an album, told of something he learned to do early in the project. Upon hearing a particularly great tune, he would ask two questions: “Who wrote it?” and “Is he or she still alive?””

“At that time, so many of the writers and players and singers were indeed still alive. Ibrahim Ferrer, the singer referred to in Mr. Wenders’s movie as “the Cuban Nat King Cole,” was making a meager living shining shoes a few blocks down the street from the studio where Mr. Cooder and Juan de Marcos González were working on what would become the 1997 album “Buena Vista Social Club.” That record, and Mr. Wenders’s subsequent film, made international stars out of Mr. Ferrer and several other Cuban musicians who had thought time and the world had passed them by.””

““Buena Vista Social Club: Adios,” directed by Lucy Walker (and of which Mr. Wenders, among others, is an executive producer) is both an exemplary sequel and a vital, informative companion piece. It not only chronicles the late-life careers of the “Buena Vista” stars, many of whom have since died. But it also tells some painful and fascinating back stories, and insists on putting the music in its social and historical contexts.”

“Mr. Wenders’s film didn’t do much of that; it was content to be a kind of hangout movie, capturing musicians playing dominoes while awaiting their turns at the microphone. “Adios” shows furious arguments at sound checks and reveals the ambivalence with which some of the musicians viewed newfound fame. It’s not as poetic or immediately enjoyable as the first film. But it is tougher and more analytical, with real challenges embedded in its pleasures.””


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