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A Cinema of Passion: Films and Videos by Willie Varela

Having completed over 100 films and videos made since the early 1970s, El
Paso-based, Chicano media artist Willie Varela is one of independent
cinema’s most passionate and unbridled social critics. A still-to- be-
discovered gem of Chicano cinema, Varela’s visceral, layered work, produced
in semi-isolation in the Texas border town, constitutes personal responses to
events in his domestic life, local rituals, political issues and the ongoing flow
of popular culture. This long-overdue overview ranges from Varela’s early
Super 8 visual pieces to a more recent, more pungently political body of
work. Included are: Becky's Eye (1977, 3’21’), March 1979 (1979, 3’30”),
The Last Look (1981, 1’53”), Recuerdos De Flores Muertas (1982, 6’58”), In
Progress (1985, 12’30”), His Hidden Presence (1998, 10’10”), The
Extraordinary Day (2003, 16’21”) and This Burning World (two-screen
projection)(2002, 31’57”).

In Person: Willie Varela

"Varela juxtaposes images of the personal and the political; the beautiful
and the brutal; the sacred and the destitute, in a mediated conversion of
vernacular, traditionally 'low' mass-culture artifacts into something to be
appreciated as 'art'” – Quarterly Review of Film and Video