Wenders: Buena Vista Social Club


The Main 3 Thu, Dec 17, 2015 7:00 PM
The Main 3 Mon, Jan 18, 2016 7:30 PM
The Main 3 Wed, Jan 20, 2016 4:30 PM
Ticket Prices
General Public:$8.50
Film Info
English Title:Wim Wenders Retrospective: Buena Vista Social Club
Program:Cine Global
Wim Wenders Retrospective
Oscar Nominee
Release Year:1999
Runtime:105 min
Festivals & Awards:2000 Academy Award Nominee - Best Documentary Feature
United States
Director:Wim Wenders
Producer:Ulrich Felsberg
Deepak Nayar
Cinematographer:Jörg Widmer
Editor:Brian Johnson
Screenwriter:Wim Wenders
Nick Gold (Concept)


With a small film crew, Wenders accompanied his old friend Ry Cooder, who had written the music for Paris, Texas and The End of Violence, on a trip to Havana. Cooder wanted to record his material for Ibrahim Ferrer’s solo album at a studio there—following the recording of the first Buena Vista Social Club CD (which had not yet been released at that time). Wenders immersed himself in the world of Cuban music. Over the course of several months, he observed and accompanied the musicians—first at home in Havana; then, weeks later, in April 1998, on their trip to Amsterdam for the first public performance of the band (who had never played together outside a studio); then, still later, in July 1998, to their triumphal concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall. He thus followed the old heroes of the traditional Cuban Son music on their path from being completely forgotten to becoming world famous—within the period of just a few months.

“I thought, I’ll shoot a documentary,” Wenders has said, “And here we were, about to witness a fairy tale that no one could have imagined in this form.” The music documentary became a cinematic sensation and an international success. Along with an Academy Award nomination for best documentary film, Buena Vista Social Club won the same category at the European Film Awards, the German Film Prize in Gold, Germany’s Golden Camera, and the Grand Prize for Film in Brazil, as well as numerous other awards.

"Incandescent. The concert scenes find the stage awash in such intense joy, camaraderie and nationalist pride that you become convinced that making music is a key to longevity and spiritual well-being." - The New York Times

"The music itself needs no explanation; it slithers and spangles." - Entertainment Weekly


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Wim Wenders is cinema’s preeminent poet of the open road, soulfully following the journeys of people as they search for themselves. During his over-forty-year career, Wenders has directed films in his native Germany and around the globe, making dramas both intense and whimsical, mysteries, fantasies, and documentaries. With this abbreviated retrospective of seven of his films-from early works of the New German Cinema (Alice in the Cities, Kings of the Road) to one of the art-house 1980s blockbuster that made him a household name (Paris, Texas) to the inquisitive nonfiction look at world culture (Buena Vista Social Club)-audiences can rediscover Wenders’s vast cinematic world.