VIFF 2019: Eliades Ochoa: From Cuba to the World


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      There's a cornucopia of musical charm here even if the central figure—a guitarist who revived several fading stars and styles of Cuban music—eludes real contact. Maybe Ochoa, a key member of the Buena Vista Social Club, is just too comfortable in front of filmmaker Cynthia Biestek's somewhat scattershot camera. As it moves along, the film becomes more generous with archival footage tracing the pre-salsa roots of Cuban son, and outlining its 1990s revival, culminating with a trip to Obama's White House.

      For reasons unknown, it utterly elides Ry Cooder's involvement with the Buena Vista album and movie.