Viva Cuba Libre: Rap Is War

Jesse Acevedo

A gripping undercover film about the militant Cuban underground rap duo Los Aldeanos, who tackle the injustices in no uncertain terms. Dynamic footage of Havana’s street culture – with street dance and basketball – is intercut with scenes from the rappers’ concerts and family lives.

Together, Bian (El B) and Aldo (El Aldeano) form the popular Cuban underground rap duo Los Aldeanos (‘The Villagers’). They defy the regime and use strong language to denounce the injustices in their country.
They hitchhike around the country to play controversial concerts that always end up with someone pulling the plug. Their self-produced CD’s sell very well, but the risks they take become clear when two young people end up in prison for listening to the duo’s music.
Los Aldeanos’s rap is the beating heart of the film, which was shot completely undercover in cities like Havana and Holguín, as well as on the road through Cuba. There’s also a chilling visit to a slum, where abject poverty and despair prevail. The fear becomes all too clear in the interviews with family members, not to mention the authorities’ intimidation practices, which are illustrated by footage of police operations and a member of the secret service appearing on the street. Something that makes a lasting impression is the rappers’ resilience, joy of living and courage while fighting for a better future.

Credits

Director
Jesse Acevedo
Producer
Jesse Acevedo, Tiffany Naiman
Year
2013
Country of production
United States, Cuba
Type
Documentary
Duration
78 minutes
Spoken language
Spanish
Subtitles
EN
Production company
La PasiĆ³n Films