Cuba mia: Retrato de una orquesta de mujeres


Cuba mia: Retrato de una orquesta de mujeres
Cecilia Domeyko
2002, PBS
86 minutes (Spanish with English subtitles)

LATAMROB rating: ***

CARIDAD ZALVIDA is proof that, regardless of politics, women face difficulties in pursuing creative careers that most men never think about. The oldest player in the Camerata Romeu string ensemble – a Cuban all-female orchestra that is the subject of this PBS documentary – cannot follow the rehearsal regime of her youthful compatriots because of her dedication to domestic chores. Caridad dutifully plays a recording of the concert music that forms part of the Camerata’s programme as she cleans the house and cooks, revealing that in so many ways domestic life in Cuba is little different to that elsewhere. Cecilia Domeyko’s film provides a fascinating insight into the lives of these feted musicians, and how they have adapted their work to their families and careers as they build up to a high-profile concert at the Basilica in Old Havana. There are some intimate insights into their lives – one youthful violinist practices on her balcony in a crowded apartment building to the delight of the neighbours – and the music mixes classical with Latin in a highly original way. Cuba mia provides a positive and neutral snapshot of a talented group of women, and has been compared, unrealistically, to “The Buena Vista Social Club” for the insights it can provide into the lives of Cuban musicians. – EC

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