2012 Sundance Docs in Focus: GYPSY DAVY

This film-by-film look at the World Cinema Documentary competition reaches the halfway point with: GYPSY DAVY, from Israel/USA/Spain, Rachel Leah Jones’ search for understanding her absent father.

Sundance Program Description:

How does a white boy with Alabama roots become a flamenco guitarist in Andalusian boots, and what happens behind the scenes along the way? GYPSY DAVY uncoils a mesmerizing story of many hearts wound around one man. Traveling across continents and through a labyrinth of hidden meanings, filmmaker Rachel Leah Jones documents her beguiling journey toward her elusive father. As she retraces his path, she pioneers a new one for herself.

Free of sentimentality or self-indulgence, Jones’s wry, self-reflective narration provides a compass for navigating one family’s knotted web of mysteries and betrayals. As the revelations mount, her editing ingeniously interlocks time sequences, characters, and archival material into a resounding and life-affirming whole. Her father’s yearning, hypnotic guitar score serves as the connective tissue throughout the film, immersing us in his primary and most enduring love affair: his music. What once pulled a family apart now binds a film together, and perhaps a tangled collection of souls into kin.

Some Background:
Jones’ credits include a former Sundance winner – she was the assistant director of Simone Bitton’s WALL (2005), which claimed a World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize. The film’s cinematographer and producer, Philippe Bellaiche, shot Shimon Dotan’s HOT HOUSE (2007), which picked up the same award at Sundance two years later.

Why You Should Watch:
Jones and her fellow editor Erez Laufer cleverly structure the film to keep the viewer engaged as different characters are introduced, falling at different points on her father’s scorecard of romantic entanglements. The result is an intriguing puzzle, allowing the audience to learn about the significant women in his life, and about his offspring, even as the filmmaker herself attempts to come to terms with her own complex feelings about the man. It will be especially curious to see how viewers will respond to David Jones himself – freespirited artist, selfish eternal child, or somewhere in between?

More Info:
Check out the film’s website and its Facebook page. Jones discusses her doc with Indiewire here. A short teaser may be found here. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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