Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Is Hector Lavoe Coming To Austin?
By Gabino_Iglesias - Tuesday April 26, 2011 - 10:02 am .

The 14th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival will present two special screenings today at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) featuring the work of Cuban-American director Leon Ichaso. Ichaso, an award-winning filmmaker, is part of this year’s Festival narrative feature and short film jury. He will be in attendance to present his films "Paraiso" and "El Cantante."

"Paraiso" (cast: Miguel Gutiérrez, Adrián Más) tells the story of how the monotonous life of Miami radio personality Remigio Gallegos changes abruptly when he answers the phone to find out that a son he has never met is waiting for him at the immigration office. Along with his mother's cross, the young man brings with him a haunted past. "Paraiso" explores generational and class divides within the Cuban exile community in southern Florida, a theme that can easily be filtered through Austin's experience with migration. Here's what the communiqué had to say about the film: "Part thriller, drama, and existential romance, the film explodes with heart, color, music, and a desperate tale."

"El Cantante" (cast: Marc Antony, Jennifer Lopez) charts Hector Lavoe's rapid rise to success and fame as an artist whose music combined Puerto Rican tradition with streetwise modernity, unabashed emotion with straightforward realism. The movie reveals the singer not only as an architect of salsa but as its soul; the kind of artist, like Billie Holliday, Edith Piaf or La Lupe, who forges an uncanny emotional bond with his audience. The movie, which I saw when it came out, is a good exploration of Lavoe's life and the drug use in the movie is an element worth discussing.

"Paraiso" will screen today at 9:00 p.m. and "El Cantante" will be shown at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday April 27. Both screenings will be at the MACC (600 River Street, Austin, TX 78701), and will be free and open to the public.