A Singer. A Fighter. A Symbol.

The Rio Theatre and the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival (VLAFF) are partnering to co-present a double feature in advance of the festival’s highly anticipated 17th season happening August 22-September 1. This year, VLAFF will be featuring over 70 films from across Latin America, and is set take place at various venues around the city – not to be missed!

At 6:45 pm, we will be screening the remarkable 2017 documentary CHAVELA, about the life of the legendary Mexican ranchero singer and and social pioneer, which features both interviews and stunning performances from the late performer followed by legendary Chilean director’s Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s cult-classic THE HOLY MOUNTAIN at 9:00 pm.

CHAVELA is the captivating look at the unconventional life of beloved performer Chavela Vargas, whose passionate renditions of Mexican popular music and triumphant return to the stage late in life brought her international fame. Born in Costa Rica (VLAFF‘s guest country this year) in 1919, Chavela Vargas ran away to Mexico City as a teenager to sing in the streets. By the 1950s, she became a household name in her adopted country, delivering her performances with a raw passion and unique voice. Just as influential were her cultural contributions; Chavela was a bold, rebellious, sexual pioneer who was known for having many female lovers at a time when being out in Mexico was dangerous. Chavela centers around a 1991 interview–the singer’s first public appearance after 15 hard years lost to alcoholism and heartbreak. In the final years of her life, Chavela openly comes out as a lesbian and rises into her momentous third act, becoming a muse to filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, earning a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and selling out performances at prestigious concert halls around the world.

Inspired by an exclusive interview and performance footage of Chavela Vargas shot in 1991, and guided by her unique voice, the film weaves an arresting portrait of a woman who dared to dress, speak, sing, and dream her unique life into being.

A justifiably laudatory love letter to a woman whose voice drew forth a song’s every emotion, and whose life as a trouser-wearing lesbian celebrity became an inspiration.” (Variety)

“What a wonderful and worthy tribute to a woman who led such a fascinating life.” (Toronto Star)

“Watching Chavela Vargas sing is like watching rain clouds gather against a hill; she appears onstage, takes to the mic, and sings in her husky tenor. The pain in her songs plays out through the twitch of an eyebrow…”  (Bitch Media)

Thursday, August 8
Doors 6:15 pm | Movie 6:45 pm
Advance tickets $10.50 HERE | $12.50 at the door

Why not make it a double feature with THE HOLY MOUNTAIN at 9:00 pm?

See both films for $14 HERE | $16 at the door

*Minors permitted in the balcony! Must be 19+ w/ID for bar service and main floor seating.
**Rio Theatre Groupons and passes OK. Please redeem at the door.

CHAVELA (Catherine Gund & Daresha Kyi, 2017 / 93 mins / G / English subs) The life of Mexican singer Chavela Vargas, who gains worldwide fame for her beauty and charm and her interpretation of traditional ranchera.


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About The Rio

Voted the #1 Independent Theatre in Vancouver, the Rio Theatre is a multimedia venue featuring arthouse, mainstream and cult-classic cinemas as well as live entertainment. Built in 1938, the Rio has been fully restored with a state of the art digital projector, surround sound, a huge stage and 420 luxurious seats.

1660 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC

Phone: 604.879.3456

Info Line: 604.878.3456

Email: [email protected]

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