East of Havana
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Three talented hip-hop musicians struggle to make themselves heard in a repressive culture in this documentary from filmmakers Jauretsi Saizabitoria and Emilia Menocal. While rap and hip-hop are often cited as the most pervasive and influential musical forms to emerge in public consciousness since 1980, in Cuba rappers and DJs are still waging an uphill battle to gain official acceptance. Soandry (real name Soandres Del Rio Ferrer), Magyori Martinez Veitia, and Mikki Flow (real name Michel Hermida) are three lyricists from Alamar, a small blue-collar community, who are members of a hip-hop… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A rare glimpse of everyday life in Cuba, where big questions and obstacles confront the rappers at seemingly every turn."
‑ Michael Ordoņa, Los Angeles Times
"East of Havana lacks the grace or intelligence to let the music speak for itself."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"There are some memorable, evocative moments, but they are spoiled by the film's obvious and simplistic politics."
‑ Eric Monder, Film Journal International
"A powerful hip-hop song makes you want to change the world; East Of Havana, sadly, just made me want to change the channel."
‑ Lexi Feinberg, CinemaBlend.com
"East of Havana sets individual stories against the bitter, resilient landscape of Cuba's political history. For the youth in the film, music doesn't just have a purpose, it is a purpose, and the artists find in hip-hop a 'mental freedom.'"
‑ Michelle Orange, L.A. Weekly
"There's a beat, but we never quite see who's dancing to it."
‑ Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly
"It would have been nice to say that EAST OF HAVANA serves a terrific introduction to the world of Cuban hip-hop, but I cannot."
‑ Ted Murphy, Murphy's Movie Reviews
"Visually striking (particularly the opening and end titles sequences), the film reveals the everyday lives of everyday people, both where and how they live."
‑ Tim Cogshell, Boxoffice Magazine
"If you thought that the Buena Vista Social Club was all that needed to be said about Cuban music, now there's East of Havana, which is about the Cuba rap scene."
‑ Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"The film makes an ironic point about Cuba: This is a land where the grandparents are revolutionaries (or at least say they are) but the kids are yearning for capitalist globalization."
‑ Kyle Smith, New York Post
"East of Havana, at its best, extols the Cuban hip-hop artist's sense of community and insistence on being heard through the rhetoric of Castro's revolution."
‑ Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
"Soandry flows with intelligence rarely seen now in the states; don't be surprised if you hear his name again."
‑ Darcie Stevens, Austin Chronicle
More reviews for East of Havana on Rotten Tomatoes