Back to the Old School

Cuban rappers still do it for the passion

The name Jauretsi Saizarbitoria sure is a mouthful, but for readers of Jane magazine, it’s instantly recognizable. The former editor there gave up what looked like the funnest job ever to take on a project very close to her heart. She visited Cuba’s annual hip-hop festival and began shooting photos for a book. Saizarbitoria wound up becoming fascinated with a local rapper by the name of Soandry, from a group named the Cartel. Their two-guys-and-a-badass-chick combo is instantly reminiscent of the Fugees. With help from her co-director, Emilia Menocal, Saizarbitoria’s project blossomed into a documentary, East of Havana, which has been getting lots of attention thanks to her big-name producer, Charlize Theron (who has been BFF with Saizarbitoria for the past fifteen years).

The film reveals the forgotten power of hip-hop as these teenagers turn it back into the CNN of the streets, addressing harsh realities within their Communist regime. As a first-time director, Saizarbitoria hopes that Miamians approach her film with an open mind. “We need to open dialogue somehow with the progressive youth of the country, be it through private organizations, or artists in a grassroots manner on the streets,” she declares with passion. See the doc tonight at 9:30 and enjoy a discussion with the directors at the Miami Beach Cinematheque. For more about the film visit www.myspace.com/eastofhavana.
Wed., March 21, 9:30 p.m.

 
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