Films that accurately represent life in Cuba around 1998
March 11, 2009 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend films that accurately represent life in Cuba around 1998, in terms of general mindset, day-to-day life, culture, language, and music.

Looking for films that illustrate various facets of Cuban life in the late 1990s or early 2000s. These can be documentary or fiction, or even "touristy", as long as there's a fair degree of accuracy. Afro-Cuban music and dance would be a plus, and I'd particularly like to hear English spoken by people whose first language is Cuban Spanish.
Finally, bonus points if the film is easy to find at a regular alternative video rental place.
Thank you.
posted by dziga to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know where you can get it, and it's probably more like 2002, but try Dance Cuba.
posted by kestrel251 at 12:34 PM on March 11, 2009

Buena Vista Social Club (the film) was recorded in 1998. It's focus is on the musician's who were popular in the 40s, catching up with what they are doing and the scene in '98, culminating in a world tour at the end of the movie.
posted by spoons at 12:34 PM on March 11, 2009

I couldn't stand more than ten minutes of it, but I know many people who like The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, a documentary about the "special period."

I enjoyed Guantanamera when I saw it a few years ago.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:26 PM on March 11, 2009

Try Suite Habana ("Havana Suite") if you can find it. It was sort of a superstar film of Cuba's early 2000s burgeoning indie film movement (which is to say that its distribution is still handled by Cuba's monolithic ICAIC, but the filmmaking process beforehand is a bit freer). I don't remember there being much in the way of Afro-Cuban music, just an orchestral score of sorts in the background for the length of the film. There is also no dialogue, but the entire thing is sort of a documentary, slice-of-life sort of thing following a day in the life of several people living in Havana.

Nada + is also lovely, and from about the same time. It could be (and almost assuredly is) deemed a Cuban Amelie. It's about a shy post office worker who decides to take people's love letters from work and rewrite them to sound more flowery and romantic before sending them out, complete with special effects, though in a much more low-tech form than Amelie. I assure you that you know where it goes from there, but it's a charming movie.
posted by stleric at 7:54 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

« Older How do I identify a company that develops online...   |   Too old to make it in TV writing? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.