When the 5th OC Film Fiesta kicked off its series of free Latino-film screenings a month ago, it launched with a campy, musical mockumentary that crossed language barriers with its humorous glam and spot-on parody of Mexican pop music from the '80s.
Volando Bajo, a Beto Gomez film, follows the members of fictional musica romantica duo Los Jilgueros de Rosarito as they grow up besties on the beaches of Baja, rise to fame thanks to some perfectly teased hair and then crumble under the pressure of nationwide celebrity. In between, they perform their cheesy keyboard ballads in movies, music videos and televised musical performances–all dressed in outrageous polyester costumes that hark back to a long-gone era of Mexican popular culture.
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With the sound, look and feel of a past era, it's being hailed as the Mexican answer to This Is Spinal Tap, itself a well-produced parody of an over-the-top music scene.
And like the band Spinal Tap, Los Jilgueros de Rosarito–including Chuyin Venegas (Gerardo Taracena) and Cornelio Barraza (Rodrigo Oviedo)–have turned the once filmic joke into a legitimately touring musical act.
In addition to singing all the songs in the movie themselves, actors Taracena and Oviedo (who also starred in Gomez' breakout parody Saving Private Perez) recorded a full EP of expertly written jams–including hits like "Ya no Llores Más," "Te Siento Bien Lejos," and "Contigo, With You"–and are adored by real fans who see little irony in a group that recalls such great Mexi pop acts as Los Angeles Negros, Los Yonics, Los Solitarios and Los Bukis.
At the Volando Bajo screening at the Bowers Museum last month, both the film's producer as well as the two child actors who played in the flashback scenes were in attendance, having driven up from their respective hometowns in Baja. Afterwards, they spoke about the movie's production, the music of Los Jilgueros and why an American theatrical release for the already-cult-classic may be a long way off.
If you want to see Volando Bajo in Orange County before it returns to the depths of the international film festival circuit, you'll have one last chance, when this rewarding romp through '80s Mexican kitsch gets a free OC Film Fiesta-sponsored encore presentation tonight at The Frida.
Volando Bajo, 8 p. m., The Frida Cinema, 305 E. 4th St., Santa Ana