Country: Chile / Argentina / Brazil
Review: “Violeta Went to Heaven” is a penetrating biopic about Chilean songwriter, folklorist, and visual artist, Violeta Parra. Some events and important songs may have been left off, but the film gives a solid idea of Violeta’s work, personality, beliefs, and struggles. The cadence is captivating and the structure goes back and forth in time, focusing her unhappy childhood, the first steps on music and the interest in old songs from her culture, the successful years of recognition and acceptance, the passionate and unstable relationship with the Swiss musician Gilbert Favre, and finally her decline years when her artistic tent (also used for political activism) became increasingly without audience. Violeta ended up poor and lonely, but always faithful to her beliefs. The story was reconstructed in an intelligible way, showing the impulsive personality, resolute temper, and creative genius of this iconic woman, who always preferred the poor to rich, and the sincerity to cynicism. The plaintive yet powerful songs had a big influence in the way I felt the movie, especially “El Gavilan”, which motivated uncommon sensations along the poignant final moments. Some softening was detected somewhere in the middle, but this film deserves to be seen for what it represents and for Francisca Gavilán’s incredible performance.