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Monday, April 20, 2015

HAVANA MOTOR CLUB

A Tribeca Film Festival 2015 Selection

By D.E, Levine

A most unusual and beautiful film about mid-century cars that are owned and maintained by Cuban residents..  The stars, of course, are the cars.  They really are beautiful but since they pre-date the embargo getting parts and doing repairs requires owners to be inventive.

The Cubans are competitive auto racers.  In fact, the Cuban Grand Prix was a  mainstay of the 1950s until Fidel Castro declared auto racing to be elitist and outlawed racing indefinitely -- a law that is still in effect.

However, there is an underground movement that still races.  And, in order to get parts and in many instances fabricate them from scrap.  All the while, enthusiasts are looking for ways to legitimize the sport and make it legal in Cuba once again.

This film highlights the first sanctioned drag race since 1960 and how car owners are getting their cars ready.  As I watched I wondered why Americans are not as successful in making parts for older vehicles, because the Cuban owners, who dearly love their cars and are quite passionate about them, use very ingenious methods to make parts and the parts work well.

Written and directed by Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Zelmira Gainza does an admirable job as cinematographer and the lively Cuban soundtrack adds to the intensity and pleasure of the story.