14 March 2003 | rogar131
Give Ry Cooder a break!
So a man who chases an enthusiasm for Cuban music and ends up spending his own resources to record and popularize a bunch of musicians who would have died in obscurity otherwise, takes great pains to present the music in a relatively unaltered state (unlike some such other world music experimenters like Sting and Paul Simon), and even removes much of his own contributions from the recording mix, is a self-aggrandizing cultural imperialist. The proof of the man's real intentions lies on the disc, an understated and moving documentation of a era that got plowed under by the cold war.
As for the film, indeed it's not perfect. It would be nice to have full songs, but they decided not to go with a strict concert film and concentrate on the project and the stories behind it. If you want more, the CD is easily available and highly recommended. When I saw this movie at the Lincoln Plaza cinema in Manhattan, I decided when the movie ended to trek over a few blocks to the local record store to see if they had the Cd in stock, As I walked down the street, I noticed that most of the people who had just seen the film were going the same way, and indeed, appeared to have the same idea I did (it was a packed show, by the way). It is perhaps a weakness of the film that it depends on the album for it's interest and power, but it is a loving document of the process.