By Jose Jara
A CAPTIVATING PORTRAIT OF THE LEGENDARY PERFORMER CHAVELA VARGAS
Coming to VOD and DVD on January 2, 2018
“A wonderful tribute!” – David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
“Dazzling. Poignant. Thoroughly enthralling.” – Claudia Puig, The Wrap
“Legendary Mexican singer Chavela Vargas receives justifiably laudatory treatment in this documentary celebrating her refusal to compromise together with her musical brilliance.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety
Chicago, IL (December 27, 2017) – CHAVELA presents an evocative look at the unconventional life of beloved singer Chavela Vargas, whose impassioned renditions of Mexican popular music and triumphant return to the stage late in life brought her international fame. Directed and produced by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi, CHAVELA is filled with vintage clips, stills, and performances, alongside interviews with Chavela and her contemporaries, colleague,s and partners. Together, they present an evocative portrait of one of the Latin world’s most charismatic and trailblazing artists.
Born in Costa Rica in 1919, Chavela Vargas ran away to Mexico City as a teenager to sing in the streets. By the 1950s, she gained a name for herself in Mexico, and later worldwide, chiefly for her unique and passionate interpretation of “rancheras,” traditional Mexican songs that speak frequently about love. Just as influential were her cultural contributions—Chavela was a bold and rebellious sexual pioneer who was known for having many female lovers at a time when being outwardly gay in Mexico was dangerous.
CHAVELA centers around a 1991 interview–the singer’s first public appearance after 15 hard years lost to alcoholism and heartbreak. In the final years of her life, Chavela openly comes out as a lesbian and rises into her momentous third act, becoming a muse to filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar earning a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and selling out performances at prestigious concert halls around the world before her death in 2012 at the age of 93.
“For me, Chavela’s life is not a cautionary tale, but rather, a rich subterranean dimension of our own living. She is not a role model, but a muse,” offers co-director Catherine Gund on her film’s colorful, one-of-a-kind subject. “Not only an elder, but a frame for our contemporary desires.”
The winner of the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature at Outfest Los Angeles in 2017, CHAVELA will be released on DVD for the first time on January 2, 2018(prebook November 28, 2017). The DVD, which includes a directors’ commentary track and a collection of deleted scenes among its bonus features, carries the suggested retail price of $29.95.
More information on CHAVELA can be found on the MUSIC BOX FILMS website at http://www.musicboxfilms.com/chavela