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


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