"Chavela" Triumphs!

Congratulations to Daresha Kyi and co-director/producer Catherine Gund whose documentary film Chavela has won numerous awards and prizes throughout the international film festival circuit this year. After a hugely successful world-premiere at Berlin’s International Film Festival – where the film won the 2nd place Audience Award (with 1st place going to I Am Not Your Negro) – Chavela has been requested for screenings at film festivals worldwide, and is being aggressively sought out by international distributors.

Filmmaker Daresha Kyi

To quote the film's website:

 “Through its lyrical structure, Chavela will take viewers on an evocative, thought-provoking journey through the iconoclastic life of game-changing artist Chavela Vargas. 

Filmmaker Catherine Gund
Centered around never before-seen interview footage of Chavela shot 20 years before her death in 2012, and guided by the stories in Chavela’s songs, and the myths and tales others have told about her – as well as those she spread about herself – the film weaves an arresting portrait of a woman who dared to dress, speak, sing, and dream her unique life into being.”

From Wikipedia: "In her youth, [Chavela] dressed as a man, smoked cigars, drank heavily, carried a gun, and was known for her characteristic red jorongo, which she donned in performances until she was elderly. Vargas sang the canción ranchera, which she performed in her own peculiar style. The typical ranchera was a masculine but emotional song about love and its mishaps, usually mediated by alcohol, since in a macho culture, the display of feelings by men is allowed only to the drunk. The ranchera is sung from a man's perspective and with a mariachi accompaniment. Chavela sang this type of song as a solo, using only guitar and voice, evoking the singing style of a drunk man. She often slowed down the tempo of melodies to draw more dramatic tension out of songs, so they could be taken as naughtily humorous."

Already a celebrity in her early thirties, Chavela Vargas later lost 20 years of her life to alcoholism. In the documentary, the original interviews with the singer were filmed just as she was coming out of "retirement," and re-launching a career that would take her to the world's largest and most prestigious concert halls.

Don’t miss the New York cinema premiere of Chavela on Wednesday, October 4th at the Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street in Manhattan.

Click here to watch the trailer.


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