FILM REVIEW: CHAVELA

After Chavela’s death in 2012, Catherine Gund discovered she had a unique footage material of insightful interviews with the singer when she met her in 1992. This shapes the documentary where the woman and legend talks about her career and her philosophy of life. “A justifiably laudatory love letter to a woman whose voice drew forth a song’s every emotion, and whose life as a trouser-wearing lesbian celebrity became an inspiration throughout the Spanish-speaking world.”

Chavela’s life was always full of misfortunes. In her childhood  she lacked the affection of her parents and everyone denigrated her boyish manners. Guided by her pain and anger she decides to leave her birthplace to live in Mexico where she was taken up by the cabaret world and where she made a good friendship with ranchera singer-songwriter José Alfredo Jiménez and many other artist from the music scene, but also where all her alcohol problems began.

Her voice full of sorrow, her rebellious insistence in living life her way and her famous affairs made this woman a myth. This well-balanced documentary directed by Gund and Daresha Kyi  packs in all this information but doesn’t feel crowded. The footage of her presentations from cabaret houses to concert halls will surely help recruit legions of new fans.

“What makes Chavela so special though is the way she exposed her soul in song: as a lesbian unwilling and unable to hide, and also as a wounded woman who recalls lost loves with pain but without regret.”       

 

The documentary will be presented during IDFA.

Screenings:

Tue 21 November — 15:30 – 17:06

Melkweg – Rabozaal

Sat 25 November — 16:00 – 17:36

Podium Mozaïek

 

See full review: Variety