Shot during a particularly vibrant period for Cuban cinema, 1965 docu “We Are the Music” (unveiling at L.A. Latino fest after not being seen for many years) is an impressionistic tapestry of musica Cubano in a dynamic range of settings, from street fests to intimate salons. Director Rogelio Paris, using a type of Soviet-based black-and-white film stock that gave ’60s Cuban pics such vivid character, applies fine tracking shots, prowling handheld work and precise montage (care of editor Nelson Rodriguez) as his crew observes top acts in their prime. With right handling, unsubtitled Spanish dialogue curio could become a solid video library item.
Gravity-defying camera follows the Afro-Cuban moves of the National Folkloric Co. as well as folk-oriented combo Charanga a la Francesa performing in a church, while a smoky club is a hothouse setting for dancer Ana Gloria’s wild gyrations. Some post-dubbing mars the fidelity of singer Elena Bourke in concert and Celeste Mendoza in a courtyard setting. Inconsistent use of identifying graphics is odd in the extreme, but pic leaves final impression of being part of a vanguard which foreshadowed music videos.