In a Gypsy village, the fathers of Candela and José promise their children to each other. Years later, the unfaithful José marries Candela but while defending his lover Lucía in a brawl, he... See full summary »
In Madrid, the orphan sisters Irene, Ana and Maite are raised by their austere aunt Paulina together with their mute and crippled grandmother after the death of their mother and their ... See full summary »
A group of flamenco dancers are rehearsing a very spanish version of the Prosper Merimee's drama. Antonio (the coreographer) falls in love with Carmen (the main dancer). Their story then ... See full summary »
Laura del Sol,
Paco de Lucía
An industrialist drives to the sea with his wife and best friend, who he thinks are starting an affair. As the two flirt, he becomes increasingly paranoid. Will he end his agony by killing ... See full summary »
Juan Luis Galiardo,
Julian, a middle-aged single doctor, meets his childhood friend Pablo again. The latter is back from Africa and has just married a beautiful young blonde, Elena. Julian falls in love with ... See full summary »
José Luis López Vázquez,
Francisco Goya (1746-1828), deaf and ill, lives the last years of his life in voluntary exile in Bordeaux, a Liberal protesting the oppressive rule of Ferdinand VII. He's living with his ... See full summary »
Ana is alive and married with Antonio; they arrive in the manor in the countryside of Spain where she worked as a nanny many years ago, for the centennial birthday of the matriarch. In ... See full summary »
Fernando Fernán Gómez
A young girl, after failing an exam, is forced by her father, a taxi-driver, to learn his profession. Soon she discovers that her father is not only a driver but also a member of a racist ... See full summary »
In a Gypsy village, the fathers of Candela and José promise their children to each other. Years later, the unfaithful José marries Candela but while defending his lover Lucía in a brawl, he is stabbed to death. Carmelo, who secretly loves Candela since he was a boy, is arrested while helping José and unfairly sent to prison. Four years later he is released and declares his love for Candela. However, the woman is cursed by a bewitched love and every night she goes to the place where José died to dance with his ghost. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Padre de José:
[Sitting and drinking wine with his friend Diego, looking at the children playing in the street]
How your daughter has grown, Diego!
Padre de Candela:
[Turns to ponder the sight of his daughter playing jump-rope in the street, then turns to his friend]
My friend, Candela will belong to your José.
Padre de José:
As you wish... Let's seal the pact.
Padre de Candela:
May it be for the best.
Padre de José:
[They shake hands, and one of them pours some wine over their clasped hands]
To our children.
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Impeccably choreographed and imaginatively stylized, El Amor Brujo, the final film in Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy, stands out for the brilliance in which it captures the dark mood of the gypsy world through sensual flamenco dance. The film features the complete score of Manuel de Falla's ballet including the famous Ritual Fire Dance, Cancion del Fuego Fatuo, and the Dance of Terror. It is also enhanced by additional gypsy songs in the Andalusian dialect performed by characters in the movie. Set on an elaborate stage representation of an Andalusian shantytown, Saura brings back the cast from Carmen in much different roles but still choreographed by Gades.
The film tells the story of bewitched lovers, reaching each other through the veil of death. The opening shot provides a panoramic view of the sound stage with the sky a mélange of changing colors to fit the mood. Candela (Christina Hoyos) and José (Juan Antonio Jimenez) are promised to each other by their fathers when they are children, illustrating the stifling rituals of the gypsy village and presaging the inevitable struggle of the partners to escape their spiritual bonds and reach towards a full expression of their human spirit. When they reach the age of maturity, their wedding, memorably portrayed in song while the bride and groom are lifted to the top of the chorus, we find out that their celebration also has its shadow.
Carmelo (Gades) has always been in love with Candela and José has been lovers with Lucia (Laura del Sol). When José is killed in a knife fight after a visit with Lucia, Carmelo is unjustly arrested and sent to prison. When the narrative resumes, it is four years later and Carmel has just been released from prison. Still in love with the now widowed Candela, his courtship is thwarted by his lover's nightly meeting with José's spirit on the site in which he was killed where she dances with him in a ritual totentanz. When Candela discovers that her husband was unfaithful to her, she asks Carmelo to free her from her haunted meetings and show her the way to the free expression of her passion.
When he visits a village elder and is told "My son, the happiness of some always comes at the expense of others." he knows the direction in which he has to proceed. El Amor Brujo is stunning in the other-worldly mood it engenders but does not recreate the magic of Carmen. Its story, which I found otherwise involving, is extended beyond a satisfactory length, and the lead performers seem too old for their roles. Their dancing, however, is as magnificent as ever and alone makes the film a memorable experience.
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