El Amor Brujo DVD
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Directed by Carlos Saura
Produced in 1986
Main Language - Spanish with English subtitles
The final part of Saura and Antonio Gades' Flamenco Trilogy sees Cristina Hoyos play the woman attempting to dance away her demons. Its finale is breathtaking, says Alexander Ballinger.
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
The third part of director Carlos Saura's flamenco trilogy, El Amor Brujo is based on the ballet by Manuel de Falla. The story follows Candela (Cristina Hoyos) who, after marrying Jose (Juan Antonio Jimenez) in a pre-arranged marriage, is widowed when Jose dies defending his lover, Lucia (Laura del Sol). Shortly afterwards, Carmelo (Antonio Gades), who has loved Candela since he was a boy, is wrongly arrested and imprisoned for Jose's death. After his release, Carmelo finally declares his love for Candela, but although she is now free to marry, Candela remains haunted by the ghost of Jose, who reappears every night to dance with her.
Length: 98 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 23rd April 2012
Cat No: OPTD2352