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This is the story of a guy with a dream. The guy in question is Gallo : a street-singer chasing his dream across Cuba. Along paths and lanes, on highways, in trains, and in backyards off crowed streets, the music mingles with his rootless lifestyle and Gallo turns these magical moments into the songs he knows by heart. Throughout his wanderings across Cuba, our singer finds a family of musicians who welcome him as a brother and go with him on his way. Gallo finds laughter in music, dance, and improvisation, and discovers emotion in trumpets and the simple songs hummed with friends.
I’ve long dreamed of making a completely free film, free as an open-ended voyage. A mestizo film that could be part fiction, part documentary, part musical, part travel diary, part film poem, and so on. A film where music is the soul of the tale, the crucial link connecting all the characters. I had just finished “Foul Play” and I needed to get back to my roots, to rinse my eyes of the closed little film scene. To return to the roots of my desires. Which meant a tiny film crew with me behind the camera, for nine weeks’ immersion on the magical island of Cuba. Of course, Cuba is all the rage now, but I think my film deals with something else, it deals with the women and men I met, the musicians, the spark of love we shared. Cuba Feliz changed my way of seeing life, reinforcing my choices and directions as a film-maker. As Pépin Vaillant says in the film, “Fight to live, because you’re sure to die.”
Karim Dridi, Director