Cuban actor wins award for role in Benny More movie

Campaign News | Friday, 18 August 2006

Film about legendary singer's life is packing cinemas throughout the island

Havana, Aug 17 (ACN) Cuban actor Renny Arozarena, who played the title role in the recently produced film "El Benny," has been awarded the Boccalino Prize for best male actor at the Locarno International Film Festival, held in Switzerland.

Arozarena was described by the jury as "a great actor, who has given color, passion and spirit to a legend of the history of music." The biographical film, directed by Cuban Jose Luis Sanchez, was one of 13 movies from Latin American competing at the festival. "El Benny" is about the life, times and remarkable music career of one of Cuba's most beloved composers and singers, Benny More.

The movie also portrays a pre-revolutionary capitalist Cuba and the general unrest and discontent with the pseudo-republic status of the country. "El Benny" also dives into the shady world of the music business of the times. More became very popular across Latin America in the 1940s and 1950s and single-handedly wrote an important chapter in Cuban popular music.

His humble beginnings as a poor black man and untrained musician who rose to the top to lead the number one orchestra in Cuba gave him a huge appeal and along with his charisma and voice made him the most popular Cuban singer ever.

Benny More composed and sung hundreds of songs in several of the popular genres of the day including cha-cha-cha, ballad and the mambo. In his lyrics he described the joy, love, friendship and grief of the common people and sang to many cities in Cuba and to Venezuela and Mexico.

Benny More has become a legendary figure and symbol of the people; today, he

is as loved as ever. His music is still regularly featured on radio programs and danced by Cubans of all generations. One of his most popular songs was called Santa Isabel de las Lajas, which he composed in honor of his hometown in the province of Cienfuegos.

"El Benny" is being played at theatres across Cuba, generating long line-ups and filling movie houses two weeks after it was first released. So far, more than 140,000 people have seen the film.

After a music career that span more than two decades, Benny More died at age 43, in Havana, a few years after the 1959 triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

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