FLAMENCO (100) [Feature]

Spain (MIFF 1996 , Reel Dance)
Director: Carlos Saura


A vibrant fusion of peoples, religions and cultures give the world the artform known in broad terms as Flamenco. It took Carlos Saura to create the definitive film on the subject. Flamenco has been, with seemingly outrageous bravura, described as "the greatest dance film ever made" but. having directed the great Flamenco trilogy-Blood Wedding (1981), Carmen (1983) and Love the Magician (1986)-Saura, if anyone, could achieve this Herculean feat.

Flamenco relies on the songs and movements of the performers to reveal the nature of this diverse art which boasts a vast array of styles, moods and fotms. The drama, excitement and intensity is conveyed in brilliant, heartfelt performances, sumptuous lighting, elaborate staging and music. Over 300 singers, dancers and guitarists from around the world are featured in a colourful jumble of variant approaches to this passionate Andalusian Gypsy dance.

Vittorio Storaro. celebrated cinematographer of Apocalypse Now! The Last Emperor. Reds and The Sheltering Sky. utilises a fluidly moving camera like a graceful extra dancer, frequently showing. in close-up, the intense emotions on the performer's faces. Some elements remain more or less constant-the lush melody of the guitar. the bellicose, Arabian-influenced vocals, the deliberate and elaborate traditional body movements-but the ways they are combined seem almost endless and delivered with bewildering virtuosity.

A celebration of the pleasure in movement. An exceptional, sensual and uplifting film faithful to the spirit of Flamenco-it has had international audiences cheering!

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