Today we’re going to be on two opposites of the world: Argentina and Indonesia. First, a biopic of Mercedes Sosa and second, a gay film that almost was a hot mess. Enjoy!
VIFF 2014: Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America
Yes I cried!
Director: Rodrigo H. Vila
Featuring: Fabian Matus, Pablo Milanos, Leon Gieco, Milton Nascimento, David Byrne
Production Company: Cinema 7 Films
Duration: 93 mins
In Spanish with English Subtitles
Reviewed By Alessandro Hutt
For the second politically charged musician bio of the festival, I caught this touching flick about Mercedes Sosa. Like Violeta Parra (VIFF 2012 had the great feature film Violeta Went To Heaven), Mercedes was a Nueva cancion singer. Nueva cancion is the revival of folk music – Parra did it in Chile, while Mercedes operated out of Argentina. Sosa was also a trench fighter against the Argentinian military regime through her music. (On a side note, if you want a great film about the Pinochet regime, see No starring Gael García Bernal.) In this new doc, Vila chronicles her life and music, while friends and family members reminisce.
Concert footage is mixed in with the interviews intermittedly. I couldn’t help but cry during Sosa’s most powerful numbers. It’s that emotionally resonant and powerful voice that gets you going. Mercedes’ perspective appears through archive footage, putting into words the heartache behind her songs – and of course, the tragedy in her own life.
The biggest reason why I’m recommending the doc is, as David Byrne puts it – people today don’t remember that music is dangerous. Sosa received death threats for her music. Eventually she was also exiled from Argentina, her native country. It’s sad that she was treated as a criminal just for singing songs. However just like Fela Kuti, Sosa bit back.
Even though it is more of a remembrance than an exploration of Sosa’s repertoire, the doc is still a must-see. Singers like these are a dying breed politically and musically. Unfortunately the radio pop muck continues more and more into mediocrity. Sosa was a musician that says and means something even after she has passed on. Her music sticks in the soul and in the heart. Just ask any of the musicians in the film.