Leah Jones has issues with her father.
She is not the only one. Flamenco
guitarist David Serva [Jones] is only good at playing music and
reproducing. Disingenuous apologies come
in a distant third when Jones takes on her more or less absentee father in Gypsy Davy (trailer here), her documentary
profile-slash-examination of family dysfunction, which screens during the still
on-schedule 2012 DOC NYC at the IFC Center.
the blond David Jones of Alabama, Serva transformed himself into
the first American flamenco guitarist accepted by the Spanish old guard. He did it by abandoning his wife and two
children (the director-co-producer-co-everything and an older brother from a
previous marriage). Serva is a
self-absorbed creep, who displays almost no redeeming virtues throughout Davy.
For obvious reasons, Jones openly questions whether she should be
documenting her irresponsible father, yet persists, clearly hoping the exercise
will have a therapeutic effect.
inarticulate, Serva Jones only buries himself deeper as the film
continues. Nonetheless, it is
fascinating to trace the five women and five children (that he knows of) whose
fates would become intertwined with his.
There is some stylish flamenco and Roma-influenced guitar music as well,
but Serva Jones’ undeniable musical gifts are not impressive enough to
compensate for his boorishness.
is impossible to turn away from the uncomfortable messiness of Gypsy Davy, just like traffic accident
or a Joe Biden stump speech. Jones
raises family disorder to the level of performance art, but there is never any
question where the blame lies. The only
real surprise is the relative emotional health displayed by many of Serva’s
Gypsy Davy is almost unique
among music-related documentaries because it leaves viewers less kindly
disposed to its subject after a full viewing.
However, many critics and programmers will probably play up the Counting
Crows hook. Yes, David Serva Jones is
the inspiration for that Mr. Jones. In
fact, his son Martin co-founded the band, but walked away from a career in
music out of fear he would become like his father.
While it looks rather DIY, Gypsy Davy is scathingly honest and quite shrewdly
constructed. Recommended for viewers in
the mood for an anti-musical doc, Gypsy
Davy screens this Friday (11/9) and the following Monday (11/12) as part of
this year’s DOC NYC, which is still proceeding on course.
Labels: DOC NYC '12, Documentary, Flamenco