CARLOS ALMARAZ: PLAYING WITH FIRE
This stunning documentary explores the brief, rich, and contradictory life of the artist Carlos Almaraz: a Chicano activist, sexual outlaw, and visionary painter whose images of his longtime home, Los Angeles, are as iconic as those of David Hockney and Edward Ruscha.
Almaraz was just 48 when he died of complications of AIDS, but he packed many lifetimes of accomplishments into those intense years. In the 1960s, Almaraz lost himself in New York, exploring his outer limits of his homoerotic desires and nearly drinking himself to death.
After returning to L.A. in the 1970s, he reinvented himself as an activist Chicano artist, working alongside Cesar Chavez and joining the heralded artist collective Los Four. In his final transformation, as a married man and father, Almaraz turned to more personal, visionary art, his canvases exploding with color and a near mystical energy. Playing With Fire is an intimate portrait that pays tribute to Almaraz’s genius without glossing over his demons and contradictions.
PRESS COVERAGE | articles and videos
THE FESTIVALS SCENE
Palm Springs IFF Documentary in Competition Film Directors Retreat January 2019
Directors Elsa Flores Almaraz and Richard J Montoya (front row 2nd and 3rd from the right)
Co-Director Richard J Montoya accepts The Best Documentary Film Award at Xicanindie Film Festival 2019, Denver, Colorado