Carlos Saura Reviews

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Flamenco, Flamenco

Review Directed by legendary Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura, Flamenco, Flamenco is an evolutionary musical journey through the light, song and dance of a dynamic and alive art form. Beautifully photographed by famed Academy Award-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now), and showcasing a powerful new Flamenco through dazzling musical and dance performances by emerging talents, and the greatest living Flamenco masters, this unique musical odyssey reaches beyond the borders of Flamenco and Spanish culture toward a universal artistic expression.
Carmen

Review One of Spanish cinema’s great auteurs, Carlos Saura brought international audiences closer to the art of his country’s dance than any other filmmaker, before or since. In his Flamenco Trilogy—Blood Wedding, Carmen, and El amor brujo—Saura merged his passion for music with his ongoing exploration of Spanish national identity. All starring and choreographed by legendary dancer Antonio Gades, the films feature thrilling physicality and electrifying cinematography and editing—colorful paeans to bodies in motion as well as to the cinema that so eloquently, and artfully, captured them.
El Amor Brujo /

Review In the wake of Criterion's release of Cría Cuervos, his haunting Franco-era allegory, comes Carlos Saura's famed trilogy, crafted in collaboration with producer Emiliano Piedra, cinematographer Teodoro Escamilla, and choreographer Antonio Gades. Blood Wedding (1981) starts out like one of Robert Altman's behind-the-scenes efforts. As the reed-thin Gades describes his initiation into dance, Saura captures every backstage detail, from the bickering of the musicians to the mementos the dancers scatter about their stations. The action culminates in a dress rehearsal of Alfredo Manas's Bodas de Sangre, a flamenco-ballet version of Federico García Lorca's play. On the day of her betrothal, the Bride (Cristina Hoyos) runs off with Leonardo (Gades), a married man. To appease his Mother (Pilar Cárdenas), the Groom (Juan Antonio Jiménez) sets out to avenge the family name.

In Carmen (1983), Saura's biggest international hit, he takes on Georges Bizet's operatic adaptation of Prosper Mérimée's novella. Fiction bleeds into fact as the performers incarnate their parts. The narrative begins with Gades's search for a dancer to play the tragic heroine. He finds her in headstrong hoofer Carmen (Laura del Sol) with whom he embarks on an affair. As with Gades, Cristina Hoyos plays a character much like herself, a dancer relegated to a supporting role (composer/guitarist Paco de Lucía also appears under his own name). Instead of a full-length performance, Carmen proceeds through a series of rehearsals and offstage encounters. The more time he spends with his leading lady--described in the text as a "she-wolf"--the more possessive Gades becomes. He demands fidelity, Carmen longs for freedom. Finally, in a fit of rage, he solves their problem--permanently. Manuel de Falla's ballet El Amor Brujo (1986) opens on a stage set made up like a gypsy village. (As with the previous films, there is no audience, though the dancers never break character.) Two men agree that their children, José and Candela, will marry when they are grown. The years go by and a wedding comes to pass, though Carmelo (Gades) secretly desires Candela (Hoyos), and Lucía (Carmen's Laura del Sol) feels the same about José (Jiménez). Then José is killed in a knife fight, but every evening Candela dances with his ghost, so she remains blind to Carmelo’s devotion. Of the trilogy, El Amor Brujo ("Love, the Magician") features the least dancing, making it less satisfying, but just as passionate--and more optimistic--than its tragic predecessors. For aficionados of dance on film, Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy belongs on the shelf with The Red Shoes and West Side Story (his trio is also filled with finger-snaps and switchblades). For those who wish to dig deeper, Saura followed up with the related documentaries Sevillanas (1992) and Flamenco (1995), which would have rounded out this set nicely. As with the other entries in Criterion's Eclipse Series (focusing on international masters, like Ingmar Bergman and Louis Malle), this collection may be devoid of extras, but it still represents one of the best deals around. --Kathleen C. Fennessy


Fados

Review Poetic, riveting and moving, three-time Academy Award nominee Carlos Saura's latest foray into the music of Argentina explores the heart of traditional Argentine folklore and its stunning musical heritage - from traditional styles to modern dance. Now 84, the three-time Academy Award nominee states, "By beginning with the most beautiful traditional songs, I wish to explore the deep, telluric connection between song and soil, tradition and the future... I will create a film that is not only for aficionados but for all lovers of music and dance - as well as those who especially liked 'Carmen' or 'Tango.' My desire is to create a cinematic experience unlike any other."
Tango

Review Flamboyant. Colorful. Sensual. This is the seductive world of the TANGO, stunningly brought to lifeby acclaimed director Carlos Saura (Flamenco), Grammy-winning composer Lalo Schifrin (TV's "Mission: Impossible") and Oscar(r)-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now [1979], Reds [1981], and The Last Emperor [1987] ). Set against the backdrop of a director's passionate love affair with his art and the beautiful young woman who captures his heart, TANGO is "a mesmerizing experience, a smoky, lush blend of muted light and color, of intoxicating dance and the richest tango music you could ever imagine". (Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times)
Flamenco

Review United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: it WILL NOT play on standard US DVD player. You need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Based on the French novel and Bizet's most popular opera which it inspired, Carlos Saura's exhilarating flamenco Carmen became an instant classic on its release and was rewarded with many international accolades including Academy Award nominations and prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. The film explores the legend by staging a modern ensemble of musicians and dancers busy rehearsing a flamenco interpretation of the Carmen story. The producer and star dancer is Antonio (Antonio Gades) chooses a girl named Carmen (Laura del Sol) to play 'his' Carmen, but life begins tragically to imitate art... SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, ...Carmen (UK)
SARA BARAS : SABORES [Non-USA DVD format: PAL, Region 2 -Import- Spain]

Review Directed by legendary Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura, Flamenco, Flamenco is an evolutionary musical journey through the light, song and dance of a dynamic and alive art form. Beautifully photographed by famed Academy Award-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now), and showcasing a powerful new Flamenco through dazzling musical and dance performances by emerging talents, and the greatest living Flamenco masters, this unique musical odyssey reaches beyond the borders of Flamenco and Spanish culture toward a universal artistic expression.
Flamenco: You Can Do It! - Sevillanas, featuring Puela Lunaris. Flamenco dance classes, Flamenco dance instruction, Learn flamenco dance, Flamenco performances

Review One of Spanish cinema’s great auteurs, Carlos Saura brought international audiences closer to the art of his country’s dance than any other filmmaker, before or since. In his Flamenco Trilogy—Blood Wedding, Carmen, and El amor brujo—Saura merged his passion for music with his ongoing exploration of Spanish national identity. All starring and choreographed by legendary dancer Antonio Gades, the films feature thrilling physicality and electrifying cinematography and editing—colorful paeans to bodies in motion as well as to the cinema that so eloquently, and artfully, captured them.
KUMPANIA Flamenco Los Angeles

Review In the wake of Criterion's release of Cría Cuervos, his haunting Franco-era allegory, comes Carlos Saura's famed trilogy, crafted in collaboration with producer Emiliano Piedra, cinematographer Teodoro Escamilla, and choreographer Antonio Gades. Blood Wedding (1981) starts out like one of Robert Altman's behind-the-scenes efforts. As the reed-thin Gades describes his initiation into dance, Saura captures every backstage detail, from the bickering of the musicians to the mementos the dancers scatter about their stations. The action culminates in a dress rehearsal of Alfredo Manas's Bodas de Sangre, a flamenco-ballet version of Federico García Lorca's play. On the day of her betrothal, the Bride (Cristina Hoyos) runs off with Leonardo (Gades), a married man. To appease his Mother (Pilar Cárdenas), the Groom (Juan Antonio Jiménez) sets out to avenge the family name.

In Carmen (1983), Saura's biggest international hit, he takes on Georges Bizet's operatic adaptation of Prosper Mérimée's novella. Fiction bleeds into fact as the performers incarnate their parts. The narrative begins with Gades's search for a dancer to play the tragic heroine. He finds her in headstrong hoofer Carmen (Laura del Sol) with whom he embarks on an affair. As with Gades, Cristina Hoyos plays a character much like herself, a dancer relegated to a supporting role (composer/guitarist Paco de Lucía also appears under his own name). Instead of a full-length performance, Carmen proceeds through a series of rehearsals and offstage encounters. The more time he spends with his leading lady--described in the text as a "she-wolf"--the more possessive Gades becomes. He demands fidelity, Carmen longs for freedom. Finally, in a fit of rage, he solves their problem--permanently. Manuel de Falla's ballet El Amor Brujo (1986) opens on a stage set made up like a gypsy village. (As with the previous films, there is no audience, though the dancers never break character.) Two men agree that their children, José and Candela, will marry when they are grown. The years go by and a wedding comes to pass, though Carmelo (Gades) secretly desires Candela (Hoyos), and Lucía (Carmen's Laura del Sol) feels the same about José (Jiménez). Then José is killed in a knife fight, but every evening Candela dances with his ghost, so she remains blind to Carmelo’s devotion. Of the trilogy, El Amor Brujo ("Love, the Magician") features the least dancing, making it less satisfying, but just as passionate--and more optimistic--than its tragic predecessors. For aficionados of dance on film, Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy belongs on the shelf with The Red Shoes and West Side Story (his trio is also filled with finger-snaps and switchblades). For those who wish to dig deeper, Saura followed up with the related documentaries Sevillanas (1992) and Flamenco (1995), which would have rounded out this set nicely. As with the other entries in Criterion's Eclipse Series (focusing on international masters, like Ingmar Bergman and Louis Malle), this collection may be devoid of extras, but it still represents one of the best deals around. --Kathleen C. Fennessy


Bodas De Sangre

Review Poetic, riveting and moving, three-time Academy Award nominee Carlos Saura's latest foray into the music of Argentina explores the heart of traditional Argentine folklore and its stunning musical heritage - from traditional styles to modern dance. Now 84, the three-time Academy Award nominee states, "By beginning with the most beautiful traditional songs, I wish to explore the deep, telluric connection between song and soil, tradition and the future... I will create a film that is not only for aficionados but for all lovers of music and dance - as well as those who especially liked 'Carmen' or 'Tango.' My desire is to create a cinematic experience unlike any other."
Latcho Drom

Review Flamboyant. Colorful. Sensual. This is the seductive world of the TANGO, stunningly brought to lifeby acclaimed director Carlos Saura (Flamenco), Grammy-winning composer Lalo Schifrin (TV's "Mission: Impossible") and Oscar(r)-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now [1979], Reds [1981], and The Last Emperor [1987] ). Set against the backdrop of a director's passionate love affair with his art and the beautiful young woman who captures his heart, TANGO is "a mesmerizing experience, a smoky, lush blend of muted light and color, of intoxicating dance and the richest tango music you could ever imagine". (Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times)
Tango

Review United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: it WILL NOT play on standard US DVD player. You need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Based on the French novel and Bizet's most popular opera which it inspired, Carlos Saura's exhilarating flamenco Carmen became an instant classic on its release and was rewarded with many international accolades including Academy Award nominations and prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. The film explores the legend by staging a modern ensemble of musicians and dancers busy rehearsing a flamenco interpretation of the Carmen story. The producer and star dancer is Antonio (Antonio Gades) chooses a girl named Carmen (Laura del Sol) to play 'his' Carmen, but life begins tragically to imitate art... SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, ...Carmen (UK)

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