In style and content imitating its undisciplined subject, helmer Federico Martini Crotti’s docu “Poet of Guaran” is a celebratory profile of Argentinian folkmusic hero Edgar Estigarribia. A larger-than-life character and a legend (in some circles) at home, Estigarribia was a leading exponent of the accordion-based music called Chamame, which he poeticized with long recitations accompanying the tunes. Crotti cuts and layers and superimposes too indiscriminately to leave anything but a dizzying residue of the man, though music fests will want to program this look at a lesser-known grassroots genre.
Rebellious from an early age, Estigarribia dropped out of school and joined fellow Chamame stylist Tarrago Ros before branching out on his own. His talent as a spontaneous versifier was channeled into song, melding recitation and music until one was unthinkable without the other. But a lack of restraint in all areas meant a topsy-turvy life, recounted by friends and family. Starting with the lovely animated credits, helmer Crotti’s unruly form tries to assimilate too much, never allowing even a minor comment to exist without visual or aural commentary. Subtitles have great difficulty conveying the lure of Estigarribia’s poetry.