Viva Cuba Libre: Rap Is War

  • Jesse Acevedo
  • Cuba, United States
  • 2012
  • 74 min
  • European Premiere
  • Music Documentary, IDFA DOC U Competition
Together, Bian (El B) and Aldo (El Aldeano) form the popular Cuban underground rap duo Los Aldeanos [The Villagers]. They defy the regime and use strong language to denounce the injustices taking place in their country. They hitchhike around the country to play controversial concerts that always end up with someone pulling the plug and their self-produced CDs sell very well. But the risks being taken become clear when two young people end up in prison for listening to the duo's music. Los Aldeanos's rap is the beating heart of the film, which was shot completely undercover in cities like Havana and Holguín as well as on the road through Cuba. There is dynamic footage of the capital's street culture – with street dance and basketball – intercut with scenes from the rappers' concerts and family lives. There's also a chilling visit to a slum, where abject poverty and despair prevail. The fear becomes all too clear in the interviews with family members, not to mention the authorities' intimidation practices, which are illustrated by footage of police operations and a member of the secret service appearing on the street. Something that makes a lasting impression is the rappers' militancy, joy of living and courage while fighting for a better future. The film starts with scenes from the 1959 revolution – Los Aldeanos declares it dead and calls for a new one.


  • 74 min
  • color / black and white
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Spanish
  • Subtitles in: English
Jesse Acevedo
Aaron Ohlmann, Jesse Acevedo for La Pasion Films
First Look Media
Mandefro Pagan
Aaron Ohlmann

IDFA history

European Premiere
Music Documentary
IDFA DOC U Competition

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IDFA history

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