Havana Motor Club

Havana Motor Club ★★★

I am neither a car guy nor a gear head so much of Havana Motor Club wasn't really my thing although I still found myself enjoying the human element at the center of the film as it played out.

Cuba is known for many things and it is most unfortunate that some of those things are no longer positive (Castro, communism, Gitmo). Havana Motor Club highlights one of the more positive things Havana is still now known for -- its classic cars. Because of a long-standing trade embargo the West decided to place upon Cuba (which was in effect for the better part of 50 years), the automobiles in Cuba tend to be the older American models that were once popular on the tropical island when the island itself was a tourist hotspot for well-to-do Americans who vacationed there in Havana's luxury hotels ... pre-Revolution.

That Revolution changed everything as the American-friendly regime was toppled and political revolutionaries assumed control of the island. Americans fled as did many affluent Cubans ... leaving behind many American cars which have been carefully restored over the years as Cuba (under Fidel Castro) suffered at the hands of the embargo and saw no new automobile imports over the next few decades. Havana can appear to be stuck in a time warp at times as the city of over two million people is full of classic cars.

The documentary actually covers none of what was just typed as it is instead a film about a select few number of Cubans -- the people, not the cigars (!) -- who LOVE automobiles and drag racing!! These people have fed their "need for speed" through secretive drag races over the decades and they actually find themselves unsure of what to do when they discover the ban on racing is set to be removed in their country?

The first sanctioned automobile race to be held in Cuba since 1960 draws a crowd. And that crowd is alive.

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