Havana Girl Orchestra – A Cuban Family Chronicle (Havana Girl Orchestra – Eine kubanische Familienchronik)
After Matías Castro lost his savings on Black Friday, his second oldest daughter, Cuchito, together with her nine sisters, founded the women’s band Anacaona. They each earned a dollar a night performing in the open-air cafés of the Aires Libres in the very heart of Havana – the beginning of what would become the female orchestra’s exceptional, 55-year-career. In 1932 the “girl group” was an immediate smash with audiences. In 1937 RCA-Victor released recordings with Anacaona. An engagement in New York paved the way for their international breakthrough. In 1938 they performed for several months at the Champs Elysées and on Montmartre, alternating with Django Reinhardt’s legendary Quintett du Hot Club de France. In the following years Anacaona toured through Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela – through all of South America. They inspired the audience with son, jazz, rumba, mambo, and cha-cha-cha rhythms. After the Cuban Revolution the musicians continued to appear publicly until 1989. The film takes place in 1991, when five of the sisters lived in Lawton, a neighborhood of Havana. It narrates their daily life, how they cue for groceries, spend their afternoons sipping cool drinks and reminiscing about the amazing female orchestra from a personal perspective. Co-authored with Manfred Schäfer. WDR, 16 mm, 45 minutes, 1991.