Special Invitation Films
GERMANY / 2004 / Spanish / Color / 35mm (1:1.66) / 90 min
Director: German Kral
Script: Stephan Puchner, German Kral
Photography: Jörg Widmer
Editing: Peter Przygodda, Wolfgang Weigl, Andre Bendocchi-Alves
Original Soundtrack: Martin Müller
Line Producer: Luke Schiller
Producers: John G. Phelan, Claus Clausen
Co-Producer: Detlef Engelhard
Executive Producers: Wim Wenders, Franz Landerer, Guido de Angelis, Karsten Brünig
Cast: Pío Leiva, Bárbaro Marín, Mario “Mayito” Rivera, Osdalgia Lesmes
Production Companies: De Angelis Group, Termidor Musikverlag, Victory21. Filmproduction GmbH, Victory Media Group
World Sales: Victory Media Group
Música Cubana is the story of taxi driver Bárbaro’s momentous encounter with the famed singer Pío Leiva. Bárbaro dreams of forming a band of Cuba’s best young musicians—conducted by the maestro himself. Of course, the singer shows little interest in this taxi driver until he meets the stunningly beautiful Osdalgia, a young and extremely talented vocalist. As the project takes off, Pío and Bárbaro fly to Tokyo for an international debut concert.
[Director’s Statement] As a young man in Buenos Aires, I dreamed of becoming a filmmaker after seeing the films of Andrey Tarkovsky and Wim Wenders. In fact, Wenders’ films inspired me to study in Germany at the Munich Academy for Television and Film, where Wenders had also attended.
So, you can imagine my reaction when, a few years after completing my film studies, Wim Wenders asked me to make a film about young Cuban musicians. I was scared to death! A film about young Cuban music would immediately be compared to Buena Vista Social Club, the most successful music film in the history of cinema! However, I learned that you always say “yes” to what life offers you and try your best . . .
Some months later I was shooting in Cuba with some of the best young Cuban musicians of our time. To share their lives, to walk the streets of Havana with them, to meet their families, to hear their music all day and all night . . . All that was an experience I will never forget.
One of my best memories of filming Música Cubana was the final concert in Tokyo. I still remember how people in the audience were clapping and dancing and how much they all loved the music! I also remember how much all the musicians, especially Pío Leiva, loved being in Tokyo—walking through the streets smoking cigars, and most of all, eating sushi and drinking Japanese beer!
I am extremely happy that Música Cubana was invited to YIDFF 2005. I was invited to Yamagata in 1999 to present Images of the Absence and have felt a strong bond to YIDFF ever since. I can’t imagine a better place to present Música Cubana to a Japanese audience for the first time. I sincerely hope you will enjoy the film and its music.
Born 1968 in Buenos Aires, German Kral began studying at the Munich Academy for Television and Film in 1991. His short film On the Edge (1992) won several awards including First Prize at the Bienal de Arte in Buenos Aires, and Images of the Absence (1998) won the Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize at YIDFF ’99. His filmography includes The Other (1991); Tango Berlin (1997); Bernd Eichinger, wenn das Leben zum Kino wird (2000); and So ist das Leben, La Vida Es Así (2002).