La Tropical

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Movie Info

In his first feature film as a director, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Turnley turns his monochromatic lens to the Havana dancehall affectionately known as "La Tropical" to explore the positive affects that the flourishing club has had on Cuban culture since first opening its doors in the segregated 1950s. Founded by a beer company for completely commercial reasons and transcending all expectations by remaining successful even through the Cuban Revolution, La Tropical catered to an almost exclusively Afro-Cuban clientele while gaining a reputation as the place to go to experience the very best in local music. Through intimate interviews with the regulars and employees who have helped the famed venue retain its vitality even in times of social upheaval, Turnley explores just how much impact something as simple as a low-rent musical venue can have on a culture desperate to establish an identity, and how, once found, that same sense of identity can give back to the community in ways the population could never have anticipated.


Critic Reviews for La Tropical

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (4)

  • As he does with his still photography, Turnley achieves a breathtaking level of intimacy in La Tropical. which swirls and dances just as sensually as the undulating bodies at the club.

    Jun 3, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Shot in black-and-white, La Tropical serves as an atmospheric portrait of Cuba in the twilight of Castro's rule.

    Jun 2, 2006 | Rating: 3/4
  • David Turnley's sinuous black-and-white documentary about an open-air dance club on the outskirts of Havana places passion and rhythm before politics and history.

    Jun 2, 2006 | Rating: 4/5
  • In telling the story of La Tropical, which occupies roughly the same cultural real estate in Cuba as the Apollo Theater does here, [Turnley] attempts to illuminate the history of race relations in Cuba, with mixed results.

    May 30, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist David Turnley's first feature, photographed in shimmering black and white, is a portrait of the Havana dance hall La Tropical, but is first and foremost a celebration of Cuban dance and music.

    Jun 2, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • La Tropical may be the first documentary about Cuba to seriously address the island republic's complex, lingering racial problems.

    Jun 1, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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