What: El Médico: The Cubatón Story, part of the NY International Latino Film Festival
When: Wednesday, August 15th, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Clearview Cinemas Chelsey 6
Directed by: Daniel Fridell
It is a story to which everyone can relate. A youngster’s heart is divided. On the one hand, he desperately wants to please his strict mom by working as a doctor, honoring the sacrifice others have made in order to give him a career. On the other, he wants to be given the opportunity to follow his dream of becoming a musician. Sounds like your typical teenage rebellion story? Guess again. When a story like this takes place in Fidel’s Cuba, and the soundtrack consists of pure, unadulterated reggaetón cubano (or cubatón), it has the potential of reaching epic rhythmical proportions, as this film does.
El Médico: The Cubatón Story is a documentary by Swedish director Daniel Fridell. It focuses on the career of Reynier Casamayor Griñán, a.k.a. El Médico, a doctor who works deep in the Sierra Maestra mountains, taking care of his patients while writing songs and dreaming of international stardom. His dreams come close to become a reality when Michel Miglis, a sleazy music producer, helps him score a contract with Warner and record some of his songs, including “Chupa Chupa” (not to be confused with that other cubatón hit: “Chupi Chupi”). But when his music career gets in the way of his responsibilities as a doctor, and Miglis keeps asking for more girls shaking their butts in the videos, all sorts of conflicts arise.
Fridell doesn’t loose the opportunity to touch on many serious topics, like the clash between capitalism and communism, the exploitation of women, and the tension between the old values and the new. However, the film never ceases to entertain. There’s action, drama, a good sense of humor, and an ending that opens the possibility of redemption for all the characters. This documentary is part of the NY International Latino Film Festival. It’ll be screened on Wednesday, August 15th, at 7:00 p.m. Go check it out, and see why the crowing of the rooster was an essential element in El Médico’s early music.