The clip, premiering at Rolling Stone, teases the unique style of the short film, which was directed by Rob Roth and boasts an old school style with bursts of vibrant animation. In it, band member Clem Burke discusses the challenge of trying to put together a set for a new audience, while Debbie Harry reflects on Cuba’s wholly unique culture. There’s also footage of Blondie’s performance of their famous cover of the reggae classic “Tide Is High.”
Blondie’s trip to Havana was billed as a “cultural exchange” that allowed the band and a group of fans from the U.S. to visit Cuba. Along with museum visits and architecture tours, the trip included two Blondie shows at Havana’s Teatro Mella, where the band played alongside Cuban musicians and groups like Alain Perez, David Torrens and Afro-Cuban progressive rock act Sintesis.
In documenting the trip, Roth tells Rolling Stone that he was “hoping to capture a seminal moment in a legendary band’s history.” He continued, “Because I had never been there and we had such a bare bones crew, I knew this had to be a discovery process and that I had to be open to how it would naturally unfold, which is exciting. I will say that from the beginning I wanted the film to be experimental in feeling so this helped guide me as we created…This is usually how I approach many of my works, but especially this one because I didn’t have much of a choice.”
Roth also spoke about some of the more personal moments he and the band got to experience during the trip, recalling: “We also got to meet some younger people at dinners and evening get-togethers who were very candid about life in Havana or in Cuba in general as an artist, the pros and cons. We were there for a short period of time but we managed to pack in some really authentic conversations with people, and I think that is what the title of the film is about. Living, being alive in Havana. ‘Vivir’ is ‘to live’ or ‘live through.’ So for me the music and the live performances and watching all the Cuban people enjoy life and the expressions on their faces.”
Blondie: Vivir En La Habana had its North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, which is taking place in New York City through June 20th. The official soundtrack for the film, also titled Blondie: Vivir En La Habana, will boast six recordings from Blondie’s Cuba shows and is set to arrive July 16th.