CHAVELA, an Intimate Portrait of Chavela Vargas, The Legendary Mexican Lesbian Chanteuse, Has U.S. Theatrical Premiere Wednesday, October 4 at Film Forum
Film Forum is pleased to present the U.S. theatrical premiere of Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi’s CHAVELA beginning Wednesday, October 4. In The Hollywood Reporter’s review, David Rooney calls Chavela Vargas (1919 – 2012) “a trailblazing free spirit whose appetite for tequila and women was as legendary as her soul-stirring vocals… A hard-drinking rebel who shredded the prevailing stereotype of the fem and flirty, hip-swinging señorita in Mexican popular music, the singer commands the stage in passionate performances throughout Chavela, owning a trademark androgynous look…that made her a queer icon long before she openly defined herself as a lesbian at age 81… singing deeply felt songs of pain, solitude and lost love in a voice both rough and tender.”
Chavela explores the singer’s dynamic life and career using powerful, plentiful live performance footage and a fascinating, reflective conversation between the artist and a group of lesbian admirers (filmed by Gund in 1991). The film also features commentary by Pedro Almodóvar, who used Chavela’s music in his films (Kika, The Flower of My Secret, Julieta) and introduced her to international concert audiences in the 1990s, when, as her manager notes, she tried as hard as she could to die on stage. Winner of the Documentary Grand Jury Prize and Documentary Audience Award at Outfest 2017.
“Legendary Mexican singer Chavela Vargas receives justifiably laudatory treatment. A 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.
Celebrates her refusal to compromise together with her musical brilliance. Loaded with concert footage, interviews with friends, and terrific photos… Celebrates the woman and the legend.” —Jay Weissberg, Variety
“Unmissable. Donald Trump’s ultimate nightmare – a Mexican lesbian diva who can wring your very soul. Films about the expression of agony rarely feel this uplifting.” —Jonathan Romney, The Guardian (UK)
CHAVELA (2017, 93 mins.) Produced & Directed by Catherine Gund & Daresha Kyi. Executive Producers: Lynda Weinman & Bruce Heavin. Co-Producers: Pepita Serrano & Agnes Gund. Cinematographers: Gund (Mexico), Natalia Cuevas (Mexico) & Paula Gutierrez (Spain). Editor: Carla Gutierrez. Composer: Gil Talmi. Associate Producers: Laura Tatham & Laura Pilloni. Mexico / Spain / USA. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. A Music Box Films release.