(Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi, USA/Mexico/Spain, 2017, 93 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles)
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. A queer icon long before she openly defined herself a lesbian at age 81.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter.
Featuring Pedro Almodovar, 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.