The hit musical based on the life of Evita Duarte, a B-picture Argentinian actress who eventually became the wife of Argentinian president Juan Perón, and the most beloved and hated woman in Argentina.
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High-flying, adored! The film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical depicting the infamous real-life story of Eva "Evita" Duarte de Peron, the wife of President Juan Peron, who rose from poverty to become the most famous Argentine woman in history. Her huge political influence and constant charity works earned her scorn and fear from the military and upper classes but adoration and love from the workers and descamisados. Evita's legendary life is displayed before your eyes as the most hated and most beloved woman in Argentina. Written by
Saw this film just after release in Jan '97. Not much impressed. Wife bought the CD and began playing it on car trips. Music grew on me to the point where I found myself taking spins in the car alone, just to play the CD and totally absorb the experience.
One evening in '99, caught the film on TV and enjoyed a perfect ecstasy in relating the music to the scenes, which I had forgotten. Played the CD less frequently over the next few years. Then, this spring (2004), HBO began showing Evita repeatedly. Watched it night after night, becoming transfixed by the music, the dancing, the cinematography, the nuances of Pryce's portrayal of Peron.
Lately, I've been watching the DVD once a week, using the NEXT button to bypass the violence and the army/high society chants. What comes across is a softer, gentler story of "poor girl makes good, marries famous man." It's a story rich in melody -- the Latin beat of "Buenos Aires", the soft sax of "Another Suitcase" and "I'd be Good For You", the touching strings of "Don't Cry For Me" and "You Must Love Me.". And the film is framed in moody, unforgettable backdrops. To name just one, the all-pervading afternoon sun -- hot on the dusty plain, glowing hazily upon the bustling Buenos Aires streets, aslant along the long corridor and stairs, as Peron carries the dying Evita to her bed, and finally, an eery spotlight upon the draped casket lying in state.
Madonna is superb, both in voice and screen presence. Pryce's performance is a triumph of the actor's craft. Banderos is a perfect Che, although, in my view, he shines as a tertiary star behind Madonna and Pryce.
See Evita, if you haven't already. If you've seen it ten times, see it again. There is still more pleasure to take from this wonderful film with each viewing.
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