Every once in a while a movie comes along that tells a story so emotional and so passionate, regardless of what the subject matter may be, that it opens your eyes to a reality of the world that you may have been ignorant about. These types of movies are artistic of course, entertaining even, but more importantly, the message that they give is what makes them so special and memorable. Fandango at the Wall is exactly that type of documentary.
Fandango at the Wall, is exactly about what the title states, a gathering of music and celebration at the border between Mexican musicians from Mexico and Mexican Americans from the United States coming together with the beauty of song, and eliminating the physical barrier that governments put between humans.
Directed by Varda Bar-Kar, Fandango at the Wall is more than just a movie about music. It is about a lifestyle, a culture, a people, a struggle, and a political division all wrapped into one. When asked what inspired her into making this film, Varda Bar-Kar, with an emotional excitement that a mother has for her baby, passionately states that “we have the power to shape the reality that we live in,” which is evident in the lives featured in this film. It was made to teach about a style of music on the northern border of Mexico called “son jarocho,” but that is just the vehicle to demonstrate how this style of music can be more than just notes on a sheet, but a way of life that shapes a people.
The story is beautifully told in between the artists showcasing their talents. The pace at times may be a bit slow, but it is only because the movie does a great job at really getting you to know the history behind the key players. However, I can see how some would want a faster tempo. In the end, the message is still the same, music truly can break barriers down.
Just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month, Fandango at the Wall is a wonderful movie that demonstrates that despite our cultures, our borders, and our languages, music truly is a unifying force in this world.
Fandango at the Wall continue on HBO Latino on Sep 27, 8:30 a.m. Sep 29, 11:15 p.m. Oct 10, 12:35 pm. Oct. 15, 8 p.m. and Oct. 21, 4:55 p.m.
Final Grade: B+