Underground Orchestra | Chicago Reader

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For this Dutch-financed documentary (1997), director Heddy Honigmann and her crew interviewed itinerant musicians on the streets and subways of Paris, occasionally winning invitations to visit the performers' homes. Almost all of her subjects are political refugees or illegal immigrants from Venezuela, Argentina, Armenia, Bosnia, Algeria, Romania, and Vietnam; they speak of hardship and disillusionment on the margins of French society but find solace in the music of their homelands. Artfully soliciting candid opinions and reminiscences, Honigmann assembles a mosaic of the postcolonial diaspora that populates the crowded ethnic enclaves of Paris, and the emotional, lovingly captured songs seem to turn the City of Light into a bazaar of world music. In French and Spanish with subtitles. 108 min.

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