Archives / 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Violeta Went to Heaven

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Director: Andrés Wood

Screenwriters: Eliseo Altunaga

Institute History

Description

Like a Chilean Edith Piaf or Bob Dylan, Violeta Parra was a folksinger and pop culture icon whose songs, like “Gracias a la Vida,” expressed the soul of her nation and protested social injustice. Violeta Went to Heaven tells Parra’s extraordinary story, tracing her evolution from impoverished child to international sensation to Chile’s national hero, while capturing the swirling intensity of her inner contradictions, fallibilities, and passions.

Director Andrés Wood, whose films are distinguished for crystallizing Chile’s zeitgeist, wisely moves beyond linear biography, drawing on an impressionistic structure and a reverberating performance by actress Francisca Gavilán, to unearth the elusive, charged core of this magnetic character. Wood evocatively interweaves key set pieces from Parra’s life—her humble family roots, her Paris foray as a celebrated visual artist, her travels through Chile to preserve disappearing traditional culture, her tenuous hold on motherhood, and her tumultuous love life. And then there’s the music. Violeta’s heart-wrenching, indelible songs permeate this film, and they will penetrate the viewer’s soul.

— C.L.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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