U.S., 2016, 110 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Lucy Walker, Not Rated, Broad Green Pictures
"I hope I look as good as they do in a few years.” — Barack Obama
Few stories in the history of Cuban popular music have as felicitous an outcome as those of the musicians that came to be known collectively as the Buena Vista Social Club, a name borrowed from a danzón written by Cachao. Director Lucy Walker chronicles the two decades of success that followed the release of the band's original album produced by Ry Cooder (under the musical guidance of bandleader Juan de Marcos) and the documentary by Wim Wenders. Using the band's farewell tour of last year as springboard, Buena Vista Social Club: Adiós explores the backstories of departed principals Ruben Gonzalez, Ibrahim Ferrer and Compay Segundo as well as those of surviving stalwarts Omara Portuondo and Eliades Ochoa. The Golden Age of Cuban Music came to an abrupt end with the revolution. Termites had their way with Mr. Gonzalez's piano and Mr. Ferrer was reduced to shining shoes. That these castaways went on to enjoy international accolades and play both the White House and Miami's Arsht Center - in their twilight years - is the sweetest kind of poetic justice.