By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Every year that I attend SXSW Film, I try to see films under the 24 Beats Per Second music category. As an ardent fan of music, I enjoy learning more about artists whose music I enjoy, or discovering acts about whom I know nothing. I cannot truly say that I am a big fan of the guitar slinging duo, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, but I have heard enough of their music to know that I enjoy what they bring to Latino music. Because I only know them by some of their popular tracks, I knew I couldn’t miss out on this documentary which promises to detail the background of these talented guitar players from Mexico.
Director Alejandro Franco tells the story of how Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero found each other and would eventually become one of the hottest acoustic guitar playing duos to emerge from Mexico. Rodrigo and Gabriela actually did not grow up with classical or flamenco training, but were well versed in metal and hard rock. After performing together in a local rock groups in their home, the two artist grew bored with that scene and decided to travel the world performing acoustic guitar seeking inspiration and drawing influence from the different cultures and scenes they encountered. This risky gamble paid off as they made a name for themselves and would become acclaimed international superstars.
Even though I mostly enjoyed this documentary, I felt that Franco’s rough style of filmmaking and editing a tad distracting. While Franco does detail Rodrigo y Gabriela’s path to success as musicians, I never felt like I truly got to know who these people really are outside of their career. The film does deliver an incendiary live performance at the end of the documentary, but I wanted to see more of this throughout the movie. As explosive and amazing as Gabriela and Rodrigo perform, this documentary comes across as too restrained and muted.