The Poet of Havana

Watch The Poet of Havana

  • TV-PG
  • 2015
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 8.3  (32)

The Poet of Havana is a 2015 documentary film that tells the story of Carlos Varela, a renowned Cuban musician who has stayed grounded despite his success as a songwriter, performer, and poet. Directed by Ron Chapman and featuring appearances by X Alfonso, Jackson Browne, and Cuban star Silvio Rodriguez, the film explores Varela's life and work, making it clear why he's considered a key figure in Cuban music.

The film opens with shots of Havana's streets and images of Varela's fans, many of whom wait in eager anticipation to see him perform live. Chapman then takes us back to Varela's early years, during which he developed a love for music and began performing in local clubs. As we learn more about Varela's journey into the world of music, we come to understand his determination to tell stories through his lyrics and music.

The film also introduces us to some of the key players in Varela's life, including his closest friend and collaborator, Eduardo Ramos. Together, they built Varela's signature sound and created a new genre that blended rock, pop, and traditional Cuban music. Later, the filmmakers show us behind-the-scenes glimpses of how Varela works on new songs, solidifying his reputation as a prolific songwriter.

Throughout the film, we are treated to some of Varela's most memorable songs, which range from ballads to upbeat rock-infused sing-alongs. Each track is infused with his signature style, which draws from a range of Cuban musical traditions while also showcasing Varela's unique perspective.

One of the film's most poignant moments comes when we see Varela perform at a concert in Miami, where he sings his popular tune, "Como un Ángel," a song about the longing and love that connects people despite divisive circumstances. Seeing the emotional impact of his music on the audience, many of whom have left Cuba and are living in exile, gives an insight into the power Varela's music holds for many Cubans, both in Cuba and beyond its borders.

The movie also offers a glimpse into Varela's personal life, including his wife and daughter, as he faces difficult decisions about his music as a profession and how it affects his personal relationships. The film is punctuated with conversations with other legendary musicians, like Jackson Browne and other members of Varela's generation, who reflect on the impact of his music on Cuban culture and the legacy he's leaving behind.

Ultimately, the film presents Varela's life as both inspirational and heartbreaking. He has achieved great personal success while staying true to his artistic vision and values, but this has come at a cost to him personally. Through it all, however, Varela remains a true artist who has dedicated his life to his craft, never compromising his beliefs or sacrificing his creativity for commercial gain.

The Poet of Havana is a beautiful tribute to a unique artist who has made an indelible mark on Cuban music and culture. The film's seamless blend of Varela's music and personal story makes it a must-see for anyone who is interested in Cuban culture, music, or art. The movie is a touching tribute to a talented artist that will leave viewers humbled by Varela's achievements and his commitment to his art.

The Poet of Havana is a 2015 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.3.

The Poet of Havana
Where to Watch The Poet of Havana
The Poet of Havana is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Max and Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent The Poet of Havana for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • IMDB Rating
    8.3  (32)