Benito Zambrano, 2005 Spain/France/Cuba (115 mins)
Roberto Sanmartin, Alberto Yoel Garcia
Feckless Cuban musicians Ruy and Tito get their big break when a top Spanish record producer comes to town. But as ever there are strings attached… Yes, it’s that old ‘creative integrity versus commercial imperatives’ dilemma once again. Throw in a concert to keep a historic theatre open, and increasing tensions between the two musicians, and you have all the hallmarks of a generic rock movie. But the film’s location provides a new twist - the producer is working with a US distributor looking solely for bands prepared to criticise the Cuban regime, and thus turn their backs on their homeland forever.
A neat snapshot of the current Cuban music scene, it reveals the increasing influence of America, and suggests the importance of retaining a sense of cultural heritage. There are no real surprises, but likeable performances and plenty of easy charm make this a deft social commentary. Steve Balshaw