Octavio Cortazar’s docu-drama La Ultima Rumba de Papa Montero (The Last Rumba of Papa Montero) uses rumba beats and Afro-Cuban lore to tell the story of one of Cuba’s great rumberos. As with any nation obsessed with dance, Cuba comes alive here with every stomp of the foot. Even in death, Papa Montero is resilient—buried in a local cemetery he’s now become “a dead man who won’t go to heaven.” A documentary filmmaker bemoans the banality of his project during the film’s more uninspired moments. Montero‘s fictionalized segments are certainly well acted but their didacticism takes away from the overall heart of the production. This is mainly a celebration of rumba as Cuba’s heart and soul. Papa Montero and another man fight for a woman’s love and is killed during carnival. Buried in a tombless grave, life seemingly goes on yet Monter’s life and the mystery of his death still hangs in the air. The joy of Montero, though, is how Octavio Cortazar brings ordinary events (domino playing, gossip) to life through graceful song and dance. Here, the rumba becomes the cry of a group collective. A devastated Cuba is the mournful yet vivacious setting for a celebration that is seemingly observed by Montero from beyond the grave.
- ArtMatten Productions
- 55 min
- Octavio Cortazar
- Octavio Cortazar
- Sonia de la Caridad, Jorge Dixon, Johanes Garcia, Rene de la Cruz, Rafael Sosa, Carlos Cruz, Jorge Cao, Jorge Ryan, Etiane Alfonso
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: