Review: ‘We Are The Music’

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 <I>musica Cubano</I> in a dynamic range of settings, from street fests to intimate salons.

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.

We Are The Music

Cuba

Production

An Institute of Cuban Art and Cinematography Industry presentation. Produced by Humberto Hernandez. Directed by Rogelio Paris.

Crew

Camera (Icalc Lab B&W), Tucho Rodriguez; editor, Nelson Rodriguez; music adviser, Ordilio Urfe. Reviewed on videotape, L.A., Aug. 1, 2002. (In L.A. Latino Film Festival.) Running time: 66 MIN.

With

Chapotin and his Orchestra with Miguelito Cuni, National Folkloric Co., Charanga a la Francesa, Bola de Nieve, Conga Satiaguera, Grupo Orile, Celeste Mendoza and the Carlos Embale Chorus of Guaguanco, Ignacio Pineiro National Septet with Silvio and Ada, Ana Gloria, Elena Bourke, Cuban Jazz Quintet.
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