Carmen (Saura) DVD
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Directed by Carlos Saura
Produced in 1984
Main Language - Spanish with English subtitles
At long last Carlos Saura’s Blood Wedding (1981) and El amor brujo (1986) are reunited with their companion piece Carmen (1984). A fiesta of Flamenco fused with classical ballet and political allegory, this post-Franco trilogy is choreographed by and stars Spanish dance legend Antonio Gades.
Blood Wedding, adapted from Lorca’s 1932 play of the same name, is the most vérité of the trilogy, offering a fascinating insight into Gades’ working methods, showing his dance troupe rehearsing Blood Wedding. The drama of Lorca’s play – about an arranged marriage that implodes amidst blood feuds and grand passion – is re-interpreted through the flamenco pyrotechnics of Gades in the role of lover, Christina Hoyos as bride and a brooding Juan Antonio Jiménez as cuckolded groom.
More drama-documentary in feel, Carmen follows Gades’ efforts to discover a Carmen for his Flamenco fusion of Prosper Mérimée and Georges Bizet. Once he has cast the voluptuous Laura Del Sol as the quixotic gypsy and himself as her intoxicated lover, the line between his personal and professional life becomes dangerously blurred. However disorienting this is, the performers are spellbinding – whether it’s Gades dancing to the Farruca into the night or the feline Del Sol fighting for her life in the tabacalera sequence.
El amor brujo, adapted from Martinez Sierra’s 1915 one act ballet is the most streamlined of the three films: its action occurs in a gypsy shanty town impressively recreated on a vast studio stage. It’s about a cuckolded wife (Hoyos) whose philandering husband (Jiménez) comes to a violent end. Driven mad by her loss, she attempts to dance away her demons with the help of her long-suffering suitor (Gades) and her husband’s sultry lover (Del Sol).
Saura and Gades’ creative partnership has been justly compared to that of Hollywood giants, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly: the major difference being that the Spaniards didn’t have the mighty resources of MGM at their disposal. But when Gades and Hoyos stamp and sway against a blood red sunset in El amor Brujo’s breathtaking finale, they sure do give Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse a run for their money.
Alexander Ballinger on 28th March 2012
Author of 33 reviews
Carlos Saura's exhilarating film of Carmen - the second film in his 'flamenco trilogy' - mixes magical choreography, rousing Flamenco dances and operatic flourishes that reference Bizet's masterwork. He explores the tale by presenting a modern ensemble of musicians and dancers led by choreographer Antonio (Antonio Gades) who casts an unknown girl (Laura del Sol) to dance the title role in his new version of Carmen. During the course of rehearsals, the plot of the production and reality become inextricably and tragically intertwined, effectively telling Carmen's story twice in one film. Guitarist Paco de Lucia contributes to the soundtrack.
Publisher: Optimum Releasing
Length: 103 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 widescreen
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 23rd April 2012
Cat No: OPTD1290
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