Diaz gives the songs the time they need for the words and melodies to wrench the gut. Because this movie is indeed gut-wrenching sad. In the story, song—and the words within—seem the only power with which people can fight unjust power. Yet that power has the same tools at its disposal, so saying words—and, just as important for us in the audience, listening to words—becomes an act of, variously, oppression, mystification, anguish, a call to arms, and an expression and communing of consciousness.
February 21, 2018