Buena Vista Social Club Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Buena Vista Social Club script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Wim Wenders documentary movie about Cuban musicians.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Buena Vista Social Club. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.

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Buena Vista Social Club Script



This is a famous photo of mine



Taken during the October missile

crisis outside the Hotel Riviera



The whole Malecon was full of

anti-aircraft guns and cannons



We were expecting a US invasion



I took this one in     

in Washington



Fidel laid a wreath

before Abraham Lincoln



It's called 'David and Goliath'



The little man and the giant



These are Che Guevara and Fidel

playing golf



Who won?






Che let him win



Ah, the Buena Vista Social Club!



Compay Segundo! Hello!



We should ask these people



Let's ask the old folks where

the Buena Vista Social Club is



He'll know



- We're looking for the Social Club

- The Buena Vista?



Oh, that's long gone



The Buena Vista was...let's see.

You go up that way...



- It was No   

- Yes, but it's no longer there



OK, tell us where

It used to be



Look, you go up that way,

and you'll find it



- You used to dance there?

- Sure I did



I was born near there.

It's a private house now



Go on the dual carriage way



It's that house, the one with

a line painted on the door



It's been gone since     .

We've lived here since then



I remember they used to throw

parties at the Buena Vista



In its day, the best bands

in Cuba played there



Know what I eat when I've had

too much to drink? Chicken soup



You take a piece of chicken neck

and you fry it



When it's no longer bloody,

you toss in some chopped garlic



You can still see

part of the bar



You eat that and you won't

have a hangover



That's how I stay fit.

Best thing there is



FromAlto Cedro,

I'm going to Marcane



I get to Cueto,

then go to Mayari



The love I have for you,

I cannot deny



My mouth is watering.

I can't help myself



Juanita and Chan Chan,

play together on the beach



How her bottom shakes.

How Chan Chan is aroused



Clear the path of dry cane leaves



Because I want to sit down



On that trunk over there.

Or I might not make it



Asleep in my garden



Amid the gladioli and the roses



And the white lilies



My soul feels sad and heavy



From the flowers I wish to hide

my bitter pain



I don't want

the flowers to know...



the torments

that life gives me



If they knew

what I'm suffering...



...for my sorrows,

they would cry as well




for they are asleep



The gladioli and the lilies



I don't want them

to know my sorrows



For if they see me crying,

they'll die.



Omara Portuondo!



I, Ibrahim Ferrer Planas...



...was born in a small town,



in Santiago de Cuba



San Luis



I am the son of Aurelia Ferrer



Registered as her natural son



I say this because...



...l'd like you all

to know from me...



...who I am and what I am



At the age of twelve...



I lost my mother



I had already lost my father.



I was an orphan



I was my mother's only child



So I had to look after myself



I was at school,

where I had friends



But I had to abandon

my studies then



Life at that time wasn't

what it is now



It was harder.



You had to fend for yourself



Do you need a hand?



Ruben and I were just

taking it easy



Ruben loves to improvise,

and so do I. Let things flow



So, I started singing. I said

Compadre, pick up this tune



Two Gardenias for you



With them I mean to say

I love you, I adore you



Pay them allyourmind.

They'll be your heart and mine



Ry Cooder heard it, too



When he arrived, I had just sung

that number. To loosen up



And he recorded it



Two Gardenias for you



With them I mean to say...



...I love you. I adore you



Pay them all your mind.

They'll be your heart and mine



Two gardenias for you



With all the warmth of a kiss



Kisses you'll never find

in the arms of another



They'll live beside you,

and talk to you as I do



And you'll believe they're saying

"I love you"



But if one evening,

my love's gardenias should die



It's because they'll

have discovered...



...that you've betrayed me

for the love of another



My name is Omara Portuondo



I was born here in Havana

in the area known as Cayo Hueso



My father was a famous

baseball player



He was one of the first Cubans

to play outside his country



They took Cuban baseball

To the US



My parents used to relax after lunch

and sing a few songs



They would sing duets



And that's how my love of

Cuban music began



I started singing La Bayamesa

when I was a little girl



My father would sing the lead voice,

and I'd sing the back-up



The song I've recorded here,

Viente Anos...



...has won a Grammy



I've known it since

I was a child



What matter if I love you,

if you don't love me any more?



A love which is in the past

should no longer be remembered



I was the love of your life,

once so very long ago



But now I'm part of the past,

and I can't agree to that



If all the things we want

were within our grasp...



...then you'd love me

still as much...



...as twenty years ago



With sadness we watch

our love fade away



A part of our souls

so heartlessly torn apart



Here on the beach,

how Maria enjoys herself



Here on the beach,

Maria, howyou excite me



I was born in     



On the coast, by the sea.

In Siboney



I lived there with my father



He was a train driver,

in the magnesium mines



I lived in Siboney

until the age of nine



That's when my grandmother died



Then I moved to Santiago de Cuba

with my brothers



I wasn't allowed to leave Siboney

until my grandmother died



She put it this way:



"Until I die, my grandson..."

that's me "... cannot leave my side"



I used to light her cigars



I was only five



And she'd say "Light me a cigar"



And I did, from the age of five



I'd light it, and my grandmother

would smoke it



So, you could say I've been

smoking for    years



I'll have to work hard.

Ry Cooder is here



On a tree trunk,

a young girl...



...carved her name withjoy



And the tree,

touched to the core...



...let a flower fall

for the girl



I am the tree,

so sad and moved



You are the girl

who hurt me so



I'll always treasure

your dear name



But tell me, what became

of my poor flower?.



I learned that as a young boy



Music is so beautiful



My name is

Eliades Ochoa Bustamante



I was born in Santiago de Cuba

on June   nd,     



My mother, Jacoba Bustamante,

played the tres



And so die my father.



We were a musical family



I was born a country boy,

of course



From the moment I woke up,

I heard music



I had music in my blood



I heard music when I went to bed,

and music when I woke up



In      I was no bigger

than a guitar



I started playing as a kid

all around Santiago



In the red light district



I played and passed the hat:

"Help Cuban musicians"



That's how I made money



I took all the money home

to help my parents



Along the road by my house...



...a merry cart-driver went by



His songs came from the heart



Like ajolly country boy he sang



I'm going to the rail crossing,

to unload my cart



And so end anotherday

of this back-breaking task



I work without respite

so that I can get married



And if I can manage that

I'll be a lucky country lad



My days of passing the hat

are over



I'll never forget it,

but it's in the past now



I'm a country lad and cart-driver,

and in the country I live well



The country is the Garden of Eden,

the loveliest in the world



Let's ride our horses

to the mountains



Hello, how are you?



We've been waiting ages.

You're late



I thought maybe the cops

were after you



Make yourselves at home



Once, in Santiago de Cuba,

my grandfather was...



...the president of

a French society



It was called 'EI Cocuye'



Once, a delegation of Africans

went to visit him there



One of the women became

Friendly with my mother



And when she left, she gave

my mother this staff



My mother was a firm believer

in this Lazarus



I have one the same. And I believe

in my Lazarus, too



We call him the Beggar



He's very powerful



He's the one who leads the way

and helps the poor



The other Lazarus is the same



But that's one I take with me.

The one who begs



I lay flowers for him



Sometimes I light a candle



I give him honey



See? 'lt's bees' honey



I give him perfume



Lots of perfume



Every time I go out,

I spray him



And I spray myself



His little shot of rum



I like it, so I assume

he must like it, too



My wife makes him a meringues

sometimes. Know what that is?



We put them here



We offer them to him



So that's how he gets

all these things



We Cubans can be thankful,

I don't know, to the Man up there...



...that we are the way we are



If we cared about possessions, we

would have disappeared long ago



But we Cubans are very fortunate



We're a small country



But we're very strong



We've learned how to resist...



...the good and the bad



Cienfuegos has its Guaguanco



Today I am very moved



I will sing to my land



To that famous region...



...known as the Pearl

of the South



That's the last one



It's the one Juan de Marcos wanted



My name is Ruben Gonzalez




I was born in Santa Clara,




At the age of nine, I started

playing the piano



My family had bought a piano



It was a fine one, a John Stowers



It was also a pianola.

It sounded lovely



When I saw that instrument,

I went crazy



I really liked it



So I began practising

all the time



When my mother saw I had talent

and could become a great pianist...



...she arranged for me to study

with a teacher in Cienfuegos



I studied with her until

the eighth grade



She'd say to me "Ruben, you'll be

a good pianist



"You have great skill

with your hands"



I was ignored, so I lost touch



But I wasn't going to starve



I polished shoes, cleaned the

streets, sold lottery tickets



I had a family to support



I'm not ashamed to say that



We moved from Santa Clara

to Havana



But being in the capital

made me feel insecure



I said to myself "There are

lots of pianists in Havana"



So, I started studying

other things



Playing other instruments



But it turned out that

one of my neighbours...



...was a man calledcame to know as Arsenio



He had a great band



And he heard me play



But Arsenio was blind



Not from birth



He had an accident

and lost his sight



Anyway, one day he said:



Ruben, would you like

to join my band?



I said yes, of course



He'd had a pianist who'd left



He'd gone to Europe



I played in Arsenio's band

for about four years



I had a few hits



People always said Arsenio

liked to pick fights



He'd get really angry when

people argued back



He'd stand there, listening



Then leap in the direction

of the voice



But of course, he was blind



So they'd all run away



And whoever it was would say

"Quiet, don't let him catch me"



And poor Arsenio would

stumble about



And get really angry



Because people were

nasty to him



He was a big fat guy,

taller than anyone



He used to make me laugh



I swear, I won't smoke again



Well, just a little bit



And I won't drink either.

No more of that



I used to drink a lot



I've a good bodyguard here.

She won't let me



This is Arsenio Rodriguez

It's his best photo






His band toured a lot in Mexico,

and in Venezuela



Most of them are dead now



This one is still alive.

He's nearly    



His name is Pascualito.

He plays the timbal



He died in Spain



The one thing I don't want

is to die. Not yet, anyway



That Man up there,

and my wife here...



...are making sure I'm still around

to enjoy myself



You know, some people

don't have much time left



As long as I have blood

in my veins...



...l'll go on loving women



Women, flowers and romance are

the most beautiful things in life



One night of romance...

that has no price



I haven't forgotten it,

and I'm    years old



I have five children



You met Salvador and Basilio.

Salvador is the youngest



I have five children. But now

I'm working on the sixth



I want to have one more



See you some other day



One day, out of the blue...



...there was a knock on my door



It was Juan de Marcos



I was shining my shoes at the time

He said "What are you doing?"



I said "l'm just shining my shoes"



He said "l've been looking for you.

Come with me"



I told him I didn't want

to sing any more



But he said "No, man, I need you"

So I ask him when



Tomorrow? I said.

And he said "No, right now"



Well, let me have a shower

No, no, right now he said



All I had time for was

to wash my face...



...and wipe the shoe polish

off my hands



So we came here, to the Egrem



And here, in the Egrem studios,

I found Eliades Ochoa



He was with Compay Segundo.

And Ruben was playing the piano



When Ruben saw me,

he started playing...



That's a number I'd made

popular in Cuba



It's called Candela, by

Faustino Oramas 'EI Guayabero'



There goes a dancing rat,

having a whale of a time



While a mouse drums out a tune

to brighten up the day



A cat comes along, too.

So elegant and content



Good evening, friend

he says to the drummer



Anyway, I started singing



And Ry, who was in the booth,

must have been listening



He heard me...



...and decided to record it



So I said OK. And we recorded it



And that is how it all started



Fire! Fire!

I'm burning up!



Faustino Oramas and friends,

put this fire out for me!



Just dial seven zeros

and the firemen will be right here



My name is Orlando Lopez 'Cachaito'



I want to tell you how

I became a musician



I started playing I was nine



When I was     , I joined

my aunt's orchestra



Starting with my great-grandfather,

we all play the bass in the family



I was going to study the violin



But my grandfather said I had to

play the bass. You know how it is



I was a bit of afraid of the bass



But in the end I got used to it



My style of playing is...



Well, I need to concentrate.

I love this instrument



I've studied classical music,

every genre



I don't know, to me music

is like a game



I've played with many orchestras

in my time



And this is how I met Ruben



I'd played with so many pianists,

And he was the only one missing



Now it turns out we're a great duo



My great strength is that

I have a good ear



I can also sight-read very fast



So before he plays a note,

I already have it in mind



My name is Amadito Valdes.

I am percussionist



I use my father's name as he was

my source of inspiration



I followed in his footsteps



In the field of percussion,

the timbal is very limited



Whoever plays it must be

very aware of that...



...and use his imagination



Because this is an instrument

which is rather limited...



...in its physical design,

you could say



It's a humble instrument



But one that lends

a lovely color...



...to popular dance music



My name is Manuel Mirabal Vazquez

better know as 'EI Guajiro'



I started playing at

the age   



So I've been playing the trumpet

for    years



It was great playing with

all the compa?ros



If it hadn't been for the Buena Vista,

they would have been forgotten



No one would remember Ibrahim,

Ruben, Compay Segundo



To see Compay, at the age of   

playing the tres so well



And Ruben playing the piano



I think this is the key to

the success of these recordings



My name is Barbaro Alberto

Torres Delgado



In musical jargon, everyone

knows me as 'Barbarito Torres'



I've played Cuban country music

since I was ten



I play the laud, which is

Arabic in origin



The Moors took it to Spain

where it was modified



There they made a laud

with a longer neck



The medieval troubadours

introduced it to Cuba...



...where is modified again



This resulted in the Cuban laud

which is the one I play



Tula's bedroom

has gone up in flames



She fell asleep

without blowing out the candle



Call the firemen



Bring lots of hoses



Tell them Tula's bedroom

has gone up in flames



Barbarito is on the loose!



He's crazy



Arrest him



My name is Pio Leyva



'EI Montunero de Cuba'



My name is Manuel Licea,




Domino! Can't you see

I'm a phenomenon?



You can't beat me, Puntillita



At dominoes, I'm number one



You might be the best singer.

But at dominoes, I'm the best



- Shall we join them?

- Wait till they call us



Hey, come to the studio!



Now I'm thrashing this guy at

dominoes, I must go to the studio



- OK, you're winning three-two

- We'll continue later



Let's see how the recording

is going



- See? You can't play with me

- Man, give me a chance



I'm happy to have had

the opportunity...



...to co-ordinate and take part in

this project



It's brought together all the

great names of Cuban music...



...who'd been practically

forgotten here



People like Ruben Gonzalez...



...one of the three greatest

son piano players of all times



Ibrahim Ferrer, one of the greatest

Cuban singers ever...



...who had sadly been forgotten

for more than ten years



And people like Puntillita,

Pio Leyva...



...Compay Segundo, Eladies Ochoa



This album will have

an enormous impact...



...on Cuban music



Recording, please



There's a party at the ranch

of compadre Don Ram?



The roast pig is ready.

The locals are on their way



They're bringing the house down

for Don Ram?'s birthday



The Comay dancers are coming.

All the roads are jammed



The bongo, triple and guiro

have all begun to play



Your kisses rained down

in a tempest of love...



With uncontrollable desires

tojoin our lives in love



Yet in spite of it all



Your departure was my downfall



The end of all my dreams



And they will not be revived

unless that day returns



That day...



...of our last meeting...



...in love



Whenever I ask you

how, when and where...



...you always answer

"Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps"



Look, what a beautiful building



It's extraordinary



- And these avenues are so beautiful

- Just imagine!



You're calling Cuba?



So much activity



Look at the gun that guy has



All the greats are there



That's Charlie Chaplin



- Laurel and Hardy. Remember them?

- The fat guy and the thin guy



And this is one of the

great trumpet players



Which one is he?



Who was the greatest

trumpet player?



The one who used to

play under the stars



And played the highest note ever

at that time



This one was blind, remember?



- He was a pianist. And her?

- She must have been famous



It says it here



They're all here



- Who's the one in the middle?

- The one with the saxophone?



See if I can remember his face



This is the life!



This is so beautiful



You can see the whole of New York

from up here, like from the plane



There's a plane taking off now



They won't fly over

this building



Where is the Statue of Liberty?



I thought the Statue of Liberty

had a crown



You can't see it from here.

You should look through the viewer



You can't see the crown

from here



Yes, you need to get closer



- At least we know where it is

- That's right



Let's move into the sun



You want sun? Let's go



Ruben, had you ever been here?



- Yes, many years ago

- Who were you with?



Oh no, not up here.

I went to the Statue



- But who did you go with?

- With some tourists



Was that in the     s?



I don't know. I was about   

and now I'm   



I want you to know

this is the first time...



...that I find myself in New York,

in the US



I've always longed...



... to see this city



I'm not an American,

And I can't speak English



But I'll learn a few words soon



So I can hold my own

in this place



I wish I could bring my wife

and children to see this



So they could see how

beautiful it is



This is so lovely, so lovely



Look, Radio City



At least I'm getting to see it



I'm. so happy to be here.

I never could have imagined



So beautiful. I'm. really happy



About two years ago



I decided to retire



I didn't want to sing any more

I was very disillusioned



Life can be very hard



I was tired of singing and

not earning anything



I tell you, my staff is

like my mother



It's been with me for    years



And that's how long

my mother's been dead



This Revolution is eternal



We believe in dreams

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