El Cantante

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Product Overview

A dazzling tale based on the true story of salsa legend hector lavoe's heroic rise, inevitable fall and triumphant return.


Studio New Line
SKU 205706204
UPC 794043110825
UPC 14 00794043110825
Format DVD
Release Date 5/6/2008
Rating Rating
Drug Addiction
Latin Music
Music (General)
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note Based on the life of salsa legend Hector Lavoe, director Leon Ichaso's EL CANTANTE, follows the beloved Puerto Rican performer (played by Marc Anthony) as he moves to New York City, and rises through the Bronx's vibrant Latin music scene during the 1960s and '70s. Singing with popular trombonist/bandleader Willie Colon (John Ortiz), Lavoe goes on to a successful solo career, but along the way, he becomes a drug addict, sabotaging not only his music, but his relationship with Puchi (a.k.a. Nilda Roman, portrayed by Jennifer Lopez). ^Helmed by Ichaso (PINERO) with documentary-like realism, and carried by Anthony, who bears a striking (albeit thinner) resemblance to Lavoe, EL CANTANTE thoughtfully depicts the rise and fall of a remarkably talented vocalist unable to shake debilitating addiction. Husband and wife in real life, Anthony and Lopez reveal a convincing chemistry, and the movie bolsters the Puchi role to give J. Lo more screen time, an aesthetic decision than allows her gentle-yet-determined presence to play off of Anthony's troubled Lavoe. While off-stage drama receives its share of attention in EL CANTANTE, the film also wisely shines the spotlight on Lavoe's charismatic performances, which are captured with grace and gusto by Anthony, a beloved singer in his own right. For fans of Lavoe, Anthony, and Lopez, this labor-of-love project is a must-see biopic that depicts the joy of Latin music against an otherwise difficult backdrop.
New York Times "[The] music is a complex and captivating form of drama in its own right....Ms. Lopez brings a lot of fight to her performance." 08/03/2007 p.E5
Sight and Sound "Anthony does a convincing turn as the charismatic Lavoe, poetically extemporising his freeform lyrics on stage..." 10/17/2008 p.53
Leon Ichaso
Marc Anthony
John Ortiz
Jennifer Lopez
Cast & Crew
Andrea Navedo - Actor
Andres Levin - Original Music By
Claudio Chea - Cinematographer
David Darmstaeder - Based On Story By
David Tedeschi - Editor
Edwin Rivera - Actor
Jennifer Lopez - Actor
Jennifer Lopez, et. al. - Producer
Leon Ichaso - Director
Leon Ichaso, et. al. - Screenplay
Marc Anthony - Actor
Nicholas Lundy - Art Director
Sharon Lomofsky - Production Designer
Todd Bello - Based On Story By
Willie Colon - Original Music By
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2007
Catalog ID 1000032052
UPC 00794043110825
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 116 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Subtitles English, Spanish
Available Audio Tracks English [CC], English
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  1.85:1
ReviewSource Reel.com
Review There's a tricky dichotomy at work in El Cantante, the entertaining, if sometimes overwrought, biopic of salsa pioneer Hector Lavoe. Without its high-powered stars, influential salsa and Latin pop singer Marc Anthony--who plays the drug-addled Lavoe--and acting/singing/producing diva (now Mrs. Marc Anthony) Jennifer Lopez--who co-stars as Lavoe's flashy wife, Puchi--this nichey movie may have never gotten made. But since salsa king Lavoe was as important to Latin music as, say, Charlie Bird was to jazz or Johnny Cash was to country, he also deserved his big-screen close-up and, in theory, Anthony and Lopez seemed fitting candidates to bring Lavoe's rollercoaster story to life...As said, the best parts of the movie are its exciting musical numbers, which the Cuban-born Ichaso shoots with terrific energy...The director makes the most out of what was a fairly limited budget ($15 million), employing a creative and kinetic visual style, vibrant locations, and nice period detail. Ultimately, Ichaso's passionate helming and its stars' deep commitment make El Cantante ("The Singer") worth seeing, despite the film's unmistakable missteps.
Reviewer Gary Goldstein
ReviewRating 8
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review "El Cantante," the life and death story of Hector Lavoe (Marc Anthony), the godfather of salsa, retraces the same tired footsteps of many another movie druggie before him. He lies, cheats, disappoints those who love him and finally dies, although even the movie loses patience with the dying process, and cuts out before getting to his years with AIDS (from an infected needle). All along the way, he is enabled and berated in equal measure by his wife and sometime manager Puchi (Jennifer Lopez), who is our guide to his story in black-and-white flashbacks...Anthony and Lopez are married in real life, and make a convincing couple onscreen, but in the movie, they never seem to learn anything, and we sense early on that they're incapable of helping each other, or themselves. They have a child, who functions as an afterthought in a few scenes, but mostly they roast in their private hell...If you're a fan of Hector Lavoe and Latin music, or Lopez and Anthony, you'll want to see "El Cantante" for what's good in it. Otherwise, you may be disappointed. The director (Leon Ichaso) and his co-writers haven't licked a crucial question: Why do we need to see this movie and not just listen to the music?
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 6
DVD, English, Spanish, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Actor Lopez,Jennifer
Label Turner Home Entertainment
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post A star isn't born in El Cantante as much as it's reconfirmed. She's still here, and she's still got it.
Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer A special film, one that refuses to package a person's life into a comfortably familiar genre.
Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer ...a soaring, crashing, blazing affair with pyrotechnic performances by real-life spouses Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez...
Paul Fischer, Dark Horizons Energetic, powerful and riveting...
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor ...the musical numbers, which constitute a hefty portion of screen time, are thrilling.

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