SXSW 2018 Review: RUBEN BLADES IS NOT MY NAME

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Writer/directer Abner Benaim hopes to reveal more about the famous actor and legendary musician Ruben Blades with this love letter of a documentary.  Some people only know Ruben Blades for his acting in movies and television, while others know him mostly for his politically-charged contribution to Salsa music.  Well for sure, not everyone realizes that Blades studied law and eventually ran for president of his native country Panama. Benaim’s film allows audiences to get better acquainted with the multi-talented artist and highly intelligent Renaissance man.

I found this documentary very interesting and enjoyable, but feel like it is a bit incomplete.  I would have liked a slightly more comprehensive look at his musical career, as he has worked with and performed with some very legendary artists from Fania Records.  I did enjoy Blades’s account of a few of his childhood experiences in Panama, but feel that he could have revealed much more about his family.  Still, I was rather impressed with his talent, intelligence, and ability to discuss his views on life, fame and Latin American politics.  Though the film will have fans wanting to know more, they will definitely enjoy hearing some of his amazing stories that this inspirational artist has experienced.

 

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