Music in Cuba 'flows like a river', said an enthusiastic Ry Cooder after his first visit to the forbidden-for-Americans island in 1996. The legendary slide guitarist joined up with some of Cuba's older musicians and recorded an album which sold millions and won a Grammy. But Cooder couldn't stop thinking about his time on the communist Caribbean island where the days are hot and the music is hotter. And when he went back last year to record another album with the same group - now nicknamed the super-abuelos, or 'super-grandads' by their compatriots - his long-time friend Wim Wenders went too. He and his film crew visited the men in their homes and in the studio - then went with them to Amsterdam in the spring - and to the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York for a spectacular concert last summer. The Buena Vista Social Club became Germany's most successful documentary ever with 700,000 tickets sold in Germany alone. It has inspired plenty of debate. Does Cooder patronise his Cuban friends? Does he treat his audience like tourists? Does he reduce a complex political situation to simple solutions? Does his guitar clash with the son and guajira played by the Cubans? Or is this simply - as many think - the best music documentary made this decade? Whatever the answers, the movie is a great choice, in salsa-friendly Hong Kong, to open this year's Max! Festival. Tickets for tonight cost $650 - which might seem expensive but includes all drinks and food (catered by the 97 Group), the KAZDA 'funk rock' band and salsa until 3am in the garden of the APA. As well as Buena Vista (at midnight) it also includes the local premiere of Aimee & Jaguar (7.30 and 9.30pm). This is a brave subject for the Goethe-Institut to choose for its gala party, and tells the true story of the love between two women - one Jewish, one married to a Nazi - in Berlin during World War II. The former was sent to a concentration camp, the latter did everything she could to secure her release. 'They interviewed Lilly Wust - the woman who survived - when the film was released,' said head of the Goethe-Institut, Ulrich Sacker. 'She's in her 80s now . . . they asked her if she had ever had another lover, and she said no. This was the love of her life.' Call 2734 9009 or Ticket City 2805 2804. Maximum impact If tonight's gala is too short notice, there is always the rest of the Max! Festival to investigate - with the latest movies from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. While some films echo themes of urban reality - so prominent in the British Council's festival last month - the three-week programme mainly shows how many romances, thrillers and comedies are emerging from the German-language film industry. There is also a noticeable emphasis on World War II and the Holocaust. As well as Aimee & Jaguar (repeated next Friday at 8.30pm), Max! includes The Volcano, with the protagonist (for which Nina Hoss won Best Actress at Montreal) leaving her fiance in Germany as she takes up the fight against Nazis from Paris (October 16, 4.30pm and 18, 6.30pm). And Jew-Boy Levi on Sunday at 9pm in which the cattle dealer Levi asks for the hand of the daughter of one of his customers. But it is 1935, and he is Jewish. There seems to be no hope: until the farmer's daughter herself speaks out. Bali blueprint The paint on one of the pictures at the Galerie Regal's art gallery was so gleamingly shiny on Tuesday night that - and this is a confession - I couldn't resist gently touching the edge of the canvas. And to my amazement the bright paint came off on to my finger . . . The very very latest paintings by Indonesian artist Sri Supriyatini (born in Yogyakarta, living in Bali) are on show at the Hotel Regal in Tsim Sha Tsui until November 10. Supriyatini always paints deep fissures of colour, the mottling of bright moss and time. Whether she is painting heads of Buddhas or of women chatting to each other as if they were a scene from an Indonesian costume drama, her figures have a sense of serenity. And of coming from an ancient time: even though my blue-smeared thumb can ascertain that these works were most definitely painted in 1999. Open 24 hours a day. Call 2313 8566.