Does the body share a song, or does the song share a body? Actors in a small neighbourhood theatre in Buenos Aires sing through ancient songs, following their vibration into movement. Reaching beyond action, Cántame is a document of an extraordinary process and a celebration of communal expression. This poetic film sings to us as we witness the thin veil between participation and creation fall in the process of essential theatre.

  • Trevor Meier
    A New Economy, Ranger, MIA
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    1 hour 17 minutes
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  • Language:
    English, Spanish
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Director Biography - Trevor Meier

I'm a documentary filmmaker, photographer, writer and full-time nomad. I travel to spend time with the most interesting people and places. I listen to others’ stories with an open heart, to grow and to learn new ways of being. I love to find different points of view and share what I learn. I’ve made three feature-length and many short documentaries along the way. If all goes well I'll spend a lifetime making more. Originally from Canada, I now carry everything I need to live and work in a backpack sized to fit under the seat of an airplane.

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Director Statement

Cántame is a deeply personal film. Having worked in the past on strongly social-issue oriented films, I was burnt out. Putting so much of myself into these films and the process-induced trauma of witnessing humanity's darkest sides weighed on my spirit. I had been looking for renewal in something deeply meaningful; when I discovered the subjects of this film, I found what I was looking for.

Cántame is about magical transcendence pursued through a difficult and precise process of creative work. It’s a sublimity so joyful, so attractive and even healing that, pursued properly, it becomes a participatory elixir. The film follows a group of artists that find a reliable, repeatable pathway to this indescribable, universally desirable thing: not a state, not static, not something you can buy; it’s attainable only through praxis, participation, mastery and submission to the process. Special, precious and rare, this magical transcendence is on full display in the film.

Under the skin this film is as much about labour as it is about art. You can feel the movement of the artists on screen and the machinations of me as filmmaker and puppeteer, both pulling the strings and begging for the labour of love to be noticed alongside the poetic final result. This layered experience is what I sought when I discovered Ale, Cata, Nico and the rest of the members of Casa Talcahuano. I was mystified by their ability to blend practical work in a professional environment with a daily experience of something so sublime. My aim was to replicate that experience through cinema.

I jumped in immediately. Within a few months of my first discovery I was in Argentina filming without any additional crew, funding or logistical support. The film is so personal that I enlisted help only for a few technical elements such as local recordists for the climactic performance and artist-friends for the final audio mix and DCP. The rest of the film is reproductive labour in the Erich Fromm-ian sense: birthed from within. I filmed, edited, wrote, composed the musical score and produced this film entirely on my own over the course of three years.

At the climax of the middle act of creation, a twist: within a week of each other, both of my parents are diagnosed with cancer. I stopped everything and returned home to take care of them. We lost my mother four months later, and my dad barely made it through. Walking with my mother through her final months of life, the bare fabric of body, the intense possibility of remaining transcendence in this life, and the nearby emptiness of death are separated by a thin veil, and their presence is felt in the final form of the film. On one of those dark days as the finality of my mom's condition settled on me, I edited and composed the music for the very first and climactic scene of the movie, which remain unchanged in the final edit.

Synchronicity of time and presence and place and people is what has arrived to make this film. My hope is audiences can sense and feel the depth of spirit and courage that's embedded in this film as something made with love and labour, and most of all the courage of the performers who invest themselves fully, daily, to enable their process.

In the end it was a miraculous time that's left with a bittersweet coda. The theatre group as it was configured at the time of filming no longer exists. Within weeks of my departure, the situation in Argentina forced significant changes in the group. If I'd waited even a few weeks to begin our meeting, the experience as it appears in the film would have passed. And so we are left with this one, beautiful, timeless artefact of an always and never re-occuring moment of transcendence.