Violeta Parra was a Chilean painter, potter, embroiderer, sculptor and painter who lived from 1917 to 1967, and her warbly singing style, is very well-known in Chile. It makes many Chileans proud of her impact on Chilean and Latin American folklore. Her song “Gracias a La Vida” has been remade on several occasions, most famously (and recently) by Canadian Michael Bublé, after the tragic 2010 8.8 earthquake that shook Chile.
Violeta Parra was from a very musical and poetic family, several famous relatives. She was a strong supporter of the Communist party, and had a relationship with the Swiss flautist Gilbert Favre. The film is an adaptation of a biography written by one of her children.
The movie tells the story of her childhood through her later years, including her music and family life. It is a great look into the history of Chile, and the art directors took great care to show Chile as it was during her lifetime, paying meticulous detail to costuming and props. The cinematography is top-notch, and the movie is directed by Chilean-Spanish Andrés Wood, who also directed Machuca, another must-see Chilean movie.
The film is beautiful in and of itself, but especially deserves a viewing if you’re planning on spending some time in Chile. You’ll learn about one of Chile’s foremost artists and her family, and are sure to make most any Chilean smile if you mention her. And it couldn’t hurt to brush up on your Spanish before you hit the ground. It’s unpredictable when the film will be showing again in Santiago, but consider checking out one of these three independent movie houses for good Chilean options.