Reviews & Quotes

Video Librarian
"An absolutely gorgeous piece of music made that much more sublime by Ilmar’s violin arrangement and accompaniment, the full human tragedy of America's pointless and continuing isolation of Cuba comes crashing down. Strongly recommended."

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)Alessandra Otero-Ramos, Arts and Humanities Librarian, SUNY Geneseo
"This documentary is a good resource for Latin American studies, Caribbean studies, and courses about Ethnomusicology. Los Hermanos makes a great addition to special library collections such as Latino, Caribbean or Hispanic Studies collections."

The New York Times
"A moving documentary with generous amounts of music, 'Los Hermanos/The Brothers' follows two musician siblings from Havana whose personal closeness is at odds with the geopolitics that keep them apart."

Booklist
"This beautifully shot, aurally pleasing film follows both brothers at home and on stage, culminating with the siblings achieving their dream of performing and recording together ... 
Music binds this lovely program together as we witness footage of the brothers rehearsing and performing 'Rhapsody in Blue,' 'Take the A Train,' and original composition 'Hermanos,' among other selections."

The Boston Globe
“The compelling story of a family disrupted by geopolitics.”

San Francisco Chronicle
“A remarkable film about a family ensnared in geopolitics and two brothers who lead very different lives and yet never lose their instinctual connection.”

Smithsonian Institution | James Early, Former Director of Cultural Studies and Communication, Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies
Los Hermanos express themselves, exercise their agency across divides of politics and distance, elevating literally the most familiar as the goal of their future—a basic human desire, aspiration, and achievement that Cubans in and outside of Cuba—literally around the world— find ways to do and enjoy everyday. That touted but under explored, undervalued reality, between Cuban citizens and the Diaspora family and is invitingly explored and enhanced by the two artists, their art, in addition to their family ties."

Ned Sublette, author of Cuba and its Music
"Magnificent!!! With a quietly persistent camera, Jarmel and Schneider take us deep into the lives of two famous musician brothers -- violinist Ilmar Gavilán and pianist-composer Aldo López-Gavilán.  Los Hermanos celebrates the music they struggle to play together across the harsh political border between the US and Cuba. No film better captures the exuberance of the years following President Obama's 2014 opening, and no film better captures the heartbreak of the harsher-than-ever sanctions that followed. And the best praise of all: it's about the music."

Evergreen School District | Sergio C Hernandez, Educator
"Beautifully done! Extremely inspirational seeing the struggle of family separation and reuniting when the opportunities came to bring together the love of a family. The passion of the love for music in the brothers' family is rooted deep in their culture, love that. Thanks for sharing this film."

Cupertino High School | Joy Kiefer, Educator
"We wanted to give our students an opportunity to experience a different culture, to give them an opportunity to hear Spanish spoken by native speakers, and to recognize that diversity is an asset and we can learn so much from each other! The movie easily accomplished all of those. It was a great experience for all involved."

Alliance of Women Film Journalists
“Nothing short of magical. Lightning in a bottle.”

Film Threat
“Jarmel and Schneider also show us how American exceptionalism and isolation are denying us the gifts of art that come from being an engaged participant in the world. Listening to Aldo and Ilmar López-Gavilán play may help us understand how much more important the blending of cultures is than any benefit of clinging to an outdated political ideology.”

NPR Boston
"Six months without live music will be reason enough to see these two gifted musicians reunite across borders to perform publicly for the first time. Los Hermanos/The Brothers offers a bright take on the endurance of family despite the policies of the day."

John Santos, Seven-time Grammy-nominated percussionist, Music Educator
"Los Hermanos is truly moving and gorgeous in every way. ...It speaks volumes about so much Cuban reality with a real humanist perspective that brilliantly reflects the hearts of these young men and their families ... A deep eye-opener that elicits empathy and gratitude, introduces us to these two brilliant artists who happen to be siblings, and is yet more solid evidence that the tired US embargo against Cuba is inhumane and utterly useless."

Joshua Bell, American Violinist
"Expertly crafted and beautifully paced, like a great piece of music. A gift to us all."

Robert Craft, Composer
"The film filled me with many emotions, so that by the end I wasn't sure whether to smile with a heart full of joy, or weep from the sadness I felt…. the music is incomparable."

Community Music Center BostonSarah Spinella, Chief Advancement Officer
“I found it so deeply moving, as a sister, as a musician, as a citizen of the US and of the world, and as someone living through the last year estranged from my own family due to the pandemic.”

Baltimore Symphony OrchKids | Megan Natoli, Flute Teacher
“What a joy it was to watch this film - I didn't want it to end! I feel endlessly inspired by Ilmar and Aldo's journeys and by their infectiously positive energy.”

Samuel Vargas International Music FoundationElena Kolbrek, Violin Instructor
“I think anyone who plays or appreciates music would enjoy the movie, but a love of music is not necessary to be awed by the family's music and the beautiful performances.”

Alyce Myatt, Arts & Culture Philanthropy Consultant, Former Director, Media Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts
"Blends music, family, and politics for an inspiring, spirited, and brilliantly crafted film that leaves you uplifted, affirming the power of art, yet challenges you to question the logic and impact of our nation's policies."

U.S. State Department | Lynn Roche, Deputy Director for Public Policy and Public Affairs, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
"A wonderful film that tells the story of family, music, culture...and our two countries with openness and humor."

KQED's The Do List
"A joyful U.S. tour featuring Aldo’s blood-pumping compositions that meld jazz, classical and Latin music."

Woodstock Film Festival Jury
"Here is a purely celebratory film that at the same time biopsies political expedience and nationalism; a film about love — for family, for art, for country — that is deeply layered with injustice as well as resilience; a film about forced separation that made us want to dance. All of the films in competition moved us deeply, but 
Los Hermanos/The Brothers, a hopeful, soaring, and beautifully-made documentary, was this jury's top choice."

The London Times
“Aldo López-Gavilán is not only a formidable virtuoso, but also exceeds in works that require extraordinary color and fascinating sounds. His natural talent never suffers and his original thinking as an artist assures a performance of amazing playing and individuality”

David France, Oscar-nominated filmmaker, How to Survive a Plague; The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson; Welcome to Chechnya
"A beautiful beautiful film. Thank you for opening my eyes in a brand new way."

Rob Epstein, Two-time Oscar winner, The Times of Harvey Milk; Common Threads
"Exquisite — so much poetry, heart, and exemplary craft.  A truly lovely film. The editing is just sublime."

Senses of CinemaValerie Soe, Writer And Filmmaker, Authors The Blog Beyondasiaphilia.com
"Los Hermanos effortlessly weaves together its images with its gorgeous score (composed by Aldo), using the soundtrack to drive and elevate the narrative, and Jarmel and Schneider skillfully portray the brothers’ relationship with each other. The movie turns an affectionate lens on Cuba, depicting the island nation awash in vibrant pastel light."

Latin Jazz Network
"Breathtaking ... 
It is a compelling story that just had to be told."