A Cuban Legend | Chicago Reader

A Cuban Legend

A refreshingly unconventional 2001 documentary on Cuban mural painter Salvador Gonzalez. A practitioner of the Yoruba religion who says his art is energized by astral forces, Gonzalez produces colorful and symbolically charged paintings. Director Bette Wanderman shows him at work in Cuba and Philadelphia, but instead of relying on dry and reductive narration, she uses handheld-camera movement to intermingle his art with the African-derived music and dance he brings to his Havana neighborhood. A wide-angle lens renders dancers and paintings with an aggressive physicality, and the tone is spontaneous and celebratory: while a woman explains her religion, a man beats out an engaging rhythm against his chair with his hands. In Spanish with subtitles. 79 min.

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