Check your local theaters for it’s Release in October!

Dallas, Texas, you will get to see the film at the Angelika at Mockingbird Station on October 20th!
Chavela Vargas was a bold pioneer, a sexual outlaw who stood in her truth at a time when being “out” was not only socially unacceptable, but often dangerous. She got away with it because she took Mexican ranchera music, stripped it down to the bone and gave it gravitas and audiences and friends loved her for it. Like Edith Piaf and Billie Holliday, she sang rancheras with raw passion and deep suffering, just like the blues. No one — particularly no woman — has ever owned the genre quite like she did.

Did Chavela really creep into women’s bedrooms late at night to steal them away from their husbands? Or scoop them onto a white horse to ride off with her? Did she pack a pistol and sometimes shoot it off just for fun? Or have epic drinking binges with friends that started on Friday and ended the followingWednesday? After she sang at Elizabeth Taylor’s Acapulco wedding to Mike Todd, did she really leave the party with Ava Gardner? Collectively known as “the black legend,” these are a few of the incredible rumors people love to share about Chavela. Many she helped spread herself. Some are true. Known as a raucous, entertaining raconteur, Chavela chose the stories she liked best, breathed life into them and made them manifest. In her amazing journey from a 14-year-old rejected runaway born in Costa Rica to a world renowned, Grammy-winning Mexican icon, this dream weaver took bits and pieces of who she was and who she wanted to be and wove them into a reality.

As someone who played fast and loose with dates, times, places, and events, Chavela had no interest in hard facts. For example, in one interview she said she lived with Frida and Diego for a month while in others she said it was a year, 5 days, or 5 years. What difference did those details make? For her, the point of any story was that it made you think, and most importantly, how it made you feel. What mattered most was the love she shared with Frida and how it changed her forever. Or so she said. Others say the moment Frida said she loved her too, Chavela bolted and never saw her again!

Although she didn’t officially identify as a lesbian until she was 81 years old, Chavela carefully crafted a public persona as a powerful, rebellious, free spirited outsider, a sexy outlaw who blazed her own unique trail. “All my life I’ve been a woman of strong character. Even as a child. I created myself by myself.”

Like all good legends, Chavela left a trail of broken (yet fiercely loyal) hearts in her wake, but she is no longer here to tell us why she never seemed to find happiness in love. What we know is that after too many nights in Bohemia she got lost in her love affair with tequila and wound up living on the streets and depending on the kindness of strangers. We know that she stopped singing so long that people thought she was dead. We know that she suffered deeply. You can hear it in her voice.

Creating a work of art that captures and honors such an elusive, ingenious being demands an innovative approach to story telling that relies less on chronological order or fixed facts and more on the spiritual and emotional impact of her experiences, the effect she had on others, the difference she made in their lives and ours, and in the lasting impact of her music. Following Chavela’s lead, we have created an evocative, provocative film that plumbs the depths and scales the heights of her journey, exploring the many ways in which she, like many artists, repeatedly “created herself by herself.” Through music, poetry, verité, archival and contemporary footage, including many of Chavela’s own powerful words, we are telling the story of her fierce battle to be authentic. Her joyful, painful, musical, and deeply spiritual journey to self-acceptance are the heart and soul of Chavela.

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