Their cars are old, and the parts are either used, bought illegally or homemade. But the dreams of Cuba’s auto racers burn as brightly as they have since the Revolution — which considered racing elitist and dangerous — effectively drove them underground.
Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt’s documentary “Havana Motor Club” draws you into this entrenched, friendly car subculture, and shows how the promise of reforms that began in 2012 with a thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations have given scrappy enthusiasts hope that their passion will be legalized, then legitimized with the first official auto race in their homeland since 1959. Can a back-burner simmer become a successfully rolling boil?
Another racer, “Piti” Munnet, who fought off cancer and races a black ’56 Ford Victoria, wonders if lifting the embargo on cars and parts will favor racers with money, while cash-strapped racing hobbyist Jote Mais is willing to sell his ’51 Ford piece by piece to finance repeated efforts to get out of the country.
‘Havana Motor Club’
Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinema Hollywood