Interviews with the Directors of Chavela
What people are saying about Chavela
"Mesmerizes with its impressionistic blend of archival photos, musical performances, concert footage and candid interviews with the legendary singer herself, as well with her ardent friends like Pedro Almodóvar and former lovers." - Claudia Puig, TheWrap
"In the artiest touch, English lyrics tumble across the screen as Vargas sings of loss, loneliness and solitude. The feelings the vocalist expresses seem truer than the biographical details Gund and Kyi have assembled — but not fully decoded. Perhaps it’s appropriate that “Chavela” leaves its reclusive subject still something of a mystery." - Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post
"Just as Vargas, who died in 2012, stripped away costume froufrou, she peeled singing down to its essence. Celebrating a great ranchera interpreter without sugarcoating her, this straightforward film honors her approach." - Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times
"The core material is augmented with a wealth of archival footage and photographs, as well as extensive interviews with music aficionados, associates, friends, lovers and admirers." - David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
"This tuneful portrait of Chavela Vargas, 'born singing' in 1919 Costa Rica, admiringly explores her impact on the world of Mexican music as an out lesbian..." - Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"Loaded with concert footage, interviews with friends, and terrific photos, this well-balanced documentary directed by Gund and Daresha Kyi celebrates the woman and the legend..." - Jay Weissberg, Variety
"The majority of Reel Music’s single-subject films stick to the same documentary formula, taking us step by step through an artist’s life and career. That occasionally yields surprises, as in Chavela... an uncompromising look into the wild, bold path of lesbian ranchera singer Chavela Vargas." - Robert Ham, Portland Mercury
"The result is something intimate—a film depicting not only her life in terms but perhaps a bit of her soul, too." - Jacob Seferian, Alt Citizen
"Directors Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi skilfully weave the singer’s performances with interviews with Vargas’s ex-lovers and friends, savvily leaking information at just the right moments." - Susan G. Cole, Now Toronto
"Chavela feels as musical as its subject, an aesthetic composition as much as a biographical document." - David Alm, Forbes
", motivaron a las cineastas Chatherine Gund y Daresha Kyi, a realizar el documental más completo sobre la vida de la controvertida artista..." - Enfoque Cubano La Columbia
"....composition as much as a biographical document." - David Alm, Forbes
"...But it is the intensity of the spoken language that conveys how much she was adored by so many." - Chloe Walker, Film Inquiry
"Singer and queer icon, Chavela Vargas and her unique perspective on the world is remembered and celebrated in this thoughtful documentary...The result is a lyrical film so evidently crafted with love that it’s impossible not to fall hard for Chavela and its subject." - Maria Cabrera, Gal-Dem.com
"This engrossing documentary by Catherine Gund, and Daresha Kyi has a wealth of archival footage, including a very revealing interview with Chavela recorded in 1992. It was however the liberal use of clips of her performing through various parts of her life and career that really captured the true essence of why this legendary singer was so adored." - QueerGuru
Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi’s award-winning Chavela Vargas documentary has found a home. Music Box Films has acquired the U.S. rights to “Chavela” and is planning a theatrical release for October. - Women and Hollywood/Variety
- El Espectador
"How does one pay a cinematographic tribute to an icon such as Mexican singer Chavela Vargas, who embodies utter simplicity and utmost complexity at the same time? This is what filmmakers Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi achieved with their documentary Chavela, a moving and thought-provoking portrait of the enigmatic singer who helped change the way we see ranchera music and who redefined what it means to be a female singer in the macho world of Mexico."
from Pair successfully directs "Chavela," the story of an idiosyncratic star - Latin Lover
from Press Releases Awards 67th Berlin - Berlinale International Film Festival
"...by smoking like a chimney and drinking as if there were no tomorrow."
from Chavela: "macha", free and proud. - El Mundo
"Un trabajo que proyecta la vida y obra de la costarricense más mexicana"
from Chavela Vargas documentary gets good reviews at Berlinale. - The Huffington Post
"El recibimiento en Berlín fue inmejorable: las localidades para las presentaciones se agotaron y un largo y emotivo aplauso coronó el estreno."
from The Berlinale receives documentary on Chavela Vargas with great emotion. - La Jornada
"Chavela is an exceptional documentary because in 90 minutes it focuses on the image and life of the artist without shrinking away from her contradictions, her pains (she died still enraged because of her mother's lack of love for her), her passions and her talent. Yesterday in Berlin the applause was well deserved."
"Chavela es un documental excepcional porque en 90 minutos fija la imagen y la vida de la artista sin regatear sus contradicciones, sus dolores (murió aún rabiosa por la falta de amor de su madre con ella), sus pasiones y su talento. Ayer en Berlín el aplauso fue merecido."
from My name is Chavela Vargas. Do not forget. - El Pais
"After the singer’s death, Gund began to revisit the tapes and found a treasure trove of raw, authentic Chavela contained within the fading magnetic tape. Teaming up with Kyi, an old friend and fellow filmmaker, Gund set out to bring the tapes back to live within the context of Chavela’s career and living legacy."
National Endowment for the Arts FY 2016 Spring Grant Announcement
FRAMELINE’S 2015 COMPLETION FUND AWARDEES CREATE GROUNDBREAKING QUEER & TRANS STORIES ABOUT FRIDA KAHLO’S BUTCH LOVER, VOGUING IN THE CONTEXT OF BLACK LIVES MATTER, & NYC’S FIRST TRANS FIREFIGHTER