El amor brujo (1986)

PG  |   |  Music, Drama  |  23 December 1986 (USA)
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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 »



(libretto) (as Martinez Sierra) , (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cristina Hoyos ...
Juan Antonio Jiménez ...
José (as Juan Antonio Jimenez)
Emma Penella ...
Tía Rosario
La Polaca ...
Gómez de Jerez ...
El Lobo / Cantaor (as Gomez de Jerez)
Enrique Ortega ...
Padre de José
Diego Pantoja ...
Padre de Candela
Giovana ...
Maria Campano ...
(as Mari Campano)
Candy Román ...
Chulo (as Candy Roman)
Enrique Pantoja
Manolo Sevilla ...
Antonio Solera ...


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dance | ghost | gypsy | singing | spain | See All (9) »


Music | Drama


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 December 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carlos Saura Dance Trilogy, Part 3: El Amor Brujo  »

Box Office


ESP 43,995,530 (Spain)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tía Rosario: [Carmelo and Candela have come to Aunt Rosario so as to get her advice on how to deal with the ghost of José who keeps tormenting Candela] I was expecting you two. There's only one thing to keep the dead from returning: FIRE!
[She points her finger forcefully at a blazing bonfire]
See more »


Follows Carmen (1983) See more »


El amor brujo
Music by Manuel de Falla
Lyrics by Gregorio Martínez Sierra
Performed by Rocío Jurado and Orquesta Nacional de España
Conducted by Jesús López Cobos
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User Reviews

Captures the dark mood of the gypsy world
19 August 2013 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

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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