Face the Music | 2017 | 90 minutes
Stranger Says: Chavela introduces American audiences to the eponymous Chavela Vargas, a Costa Rica–born Mexican ranchera singer who rose to fame (and infamy) in the 1940s. The film documents the artist’s solitude as a semi-closeted lesbian in macho Mexico and her struggle with alcoholism, all while dazzling audiences with Vargas’s powerful and soul-crushing performances. Director Catherine Gund blends frank and funny interviews with Vargas in 1992 with evocative glimpses into the artist onstage, and also sit-downs with those who know and love her. She died in 2012. If you thought mariachi bands were the only musical export Mexico had to offer, Chavela is here to remind you how wrong you are.
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