Tuesday, November 30, 2004

FILM: For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story (2000)

I like watching films about musicians - documentaries or dramatized. I love films and music so to get both for the price of one...what more could I ask for? A new one to add to this favorite genre of mine is For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story. It stars Andy Garcia as Sandoval, Cuban trumplet player extraordinaire. Gloria Estfan has a bit part in it, and Charles Dutton portrays Dizzy Gillespie.

For Love or Country is an engaging story about Sandoval's effort to leave Cuba so he could freely play the music he loves and not be stifled by the Communist government, which dictates the kind of music he can write and perform. Arturo has plans to defect when he goes out on tour, but just before he leaves Cuba, he meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman, Mariella. Problem is, she works for the government and she's loyal to the Communist Party. Arturo, on the other hand, hates the government. Nevertheless, he abandons his plans to defect, and despite their different views, they get married (love always triumphs! Ha!). The movie deals mostly with Arturo's denial of artistic freedom by the Cuban government. He loves American jazz but it's considered the "enemy's music" so it's illegal for him to not only perform it but even to listen to it!

The movie tends to drag sometimes but it's worth watching because it's saturated with great Latin jazz. I love all things Cuban (except for politics) so this movie was a real treat. However, you could tell that the story is very one-sided (extremely anti-Cuban government), and they stretched the truth in some parts. Plus, sometimes Andy Garcia isn't very good at pretending to play the trumpet, which is annoying.

::4 stars::