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The Art of Amália
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Art of Amália More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

What a beautiful gift this film is

Author: getreel ( from New York City
24 December 2000

The lament and almost unbearable melancholy of Amalia Rodriques' music goes to a place in the soul that only music can stir. In her voice and magical presence, lies the exquisite agony of the Fado, an art form of which I was unaware until seeing this film.

For me, the success of this beautifully and lovingly crafted documentary lies in the fact that the filmmaker resists the temptation to editorialize and simply allows us to share in the magnetism and elegant passion of this icon. There seems to be an inevitable corrolation between the Portuguese Fado and American Blues.

Documentary filmmaking at its best, transports us to a previously unknown reality. and having been allowed this glimpse, we are transformed.

Abrigado, Almeida

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Amazing documentary

Author: marie-55 from New York City
3 October 2000

I just want to say that this is one of the best documentaries that I've seen! It's about the portuguese singer Amália Rodrigues who's a legend in Europe and throughout the world. This film is beautifully put together and includes clips from early on when she was young to her last performances in the 90's. It's amazing that they got so much footage of her and some of the clips are just incredible. I was totally blown away by Amalia Rodrigues' voice. I see now why so many people around the world love her. She sings the fado, the soulful music of portugal and her presence is absolutely magical. There's also a short introduction by David Byrne who is clearly an Amalia admirer. Well, I guess that so am I. After I saw this film I went out and got a bunch of her CD's.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful abridged documentary for DVD release

Author: belisanda ( from Santa Susana, Portugal
8 February 2005

Reading some of the other comments, I must agree that some of the (very few) shortcomings found in this brilliant documentary about one of the 20th century's divas (up there with Billie Holliday, Bessie Smith, Edith Piaf, Judy Garland and Mercedes de Sosa) are justified. Because initially this was a 6-hours-plus TV documentary about her career("ESTRANHA FORMA DE VIDA" (V) 1995/1999). Far more encompassing and with greater insight into Amália's inner world. As for the subtitling her songs, I'm all for it! Though the music, the voice and the performance may be - are! - universal, there is so much poetry in the words just begging to be translated. I think this was a conscious choice by the producers. They were aiming at the 200 million Portuguese speakers in Brazil, Portugal, Mozambique, France, East Timor, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Canada, the US, South Africa, St. Tome and Principe, Goa, Daman, Diu, Venezuela, Luxembourg, Germany and the rest of the Portuguese-speaking diaspora worldwide. As for the Lady herself, she did not live to see this particular shortened DVD version of the documentary, but she was given a preview of "Estranha Forma de Vida". And it seems to have been to her liking. Very much so.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

It's a great documentary don't miss it.

Author: ( from Massachusetts, USA
30 November 2000

This is an excellent documentary about Amália Rodrigues. I enjoyed it very much; it's very well put together and very informative. If you want to know who is Amália Rodrigues. I highly recommend you see this film, "The Art Of Amália Rodrigues".

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

More of a scrapbook than a documentary

Author: Henry Willis from Los Angeles
2 April 2001

I have been a fan of Amalia Rodrigues for about ten years, completely taken by her voice, her presence and the poetry of fado. This documentary does showcase her beautiful voice--and her fabulously dramatic looks--while giving a chronology of her many accomplishments over more than fifty years.

But I have to confess that I was a little disappointed in this film as well. While it does give us a few insights into her life, in particular the deep depression that she fell into in the mid-70's, it leaves out most of her personal life and all of the political controversies that surrounded her. While I can understand her reluctance to put all of her life on display, I wish the film makers had coaxed her into revealing even a little more.

Even so, the movie is a great introduction to her fiercely beautiful singing. Having seen her sing I now realize how much I have missed by merely listening to her in the past. By all means go see for yourself.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The amazing Amalia Rodrigues!

Author: richards1052
23 February 2002

This is an extraordinary film musically. It made me feel awful that Rodrigues died in 1999, before I had a chance to see her live. To know that she performed a marvelous Lincoln Ctr. concert in 1991 & that I might've been there, but wasn't is painful beyond words.

I just purchased my first Amalia recording. While the musical recording is fantastic, being able, in this film to SEE her face & its tremendous expressiveness & passion as she sings these songs of terrible sadness is wonderful. Sort of like seeing the face of Mary as she cradles Jesus in her arms in the Pieta. Watching her on film, reminded me of being witness to a similar extraordinary concert performance by Mercedes Sosa in the mid 1990s at Lincoln Ctr. As I sat listening to Mercedes sing, I felt I was in the presence of a tremendous spiritual & musical force that contained awesome primal power. Some of "The Art of Amalia"'s musical segments are touching, such as Caetano Veloso paying tribute to Amalia & singing one of her songs solo in front of a packed concert hall. The musical segments also convey the incredible international sweep of her musical repertoire & the bonds she created w. fans throughout the entire world. There is one segment in which she claims that she has played in every single town in Italy that has a stage!

In another section, Amalia talks about her bout w. mouth cancer & how she came to NYC to commit suicide in a hotel. Yet, through watching Fred Astaire film videos she gradually persuaded herself that life was worth living & turned away from killing herself. Amazing! Later in the film, she quite bravely & directly admits to the interviewer that though she might've conquered the world musically, her personal life was one of pure sadness. She admits that she has never been happy. This is unbearably sad to hear, but perfectly in keeping w. a singer steeped in the fado (which she translates as "bad destiny" or "bad luck") tradition. Also, one longs to hear more about her personal life: what was in that made her so sad? what were her disappointments?

"The Art of Amalia" is a little disappointing in other major areas. My quibbles: to show 20-30 full songs in the film yet to only provide an English translation for the very last one seems a waste (unless the film was only intended for a Portuguese speaking audience, which I can't imagine). To see the profound pain on her face as she sings & not to understand the lyrics is a let down. As for the other minuses: there is almost no biographical material about Amalia's family background. There is one 20 sec. snippet w. her singing w. her mother (it's absolutely grand). There is one short reference to her parents moving fr. the countryside to Lisbon. I would've loved to see film footage of the village she came from. The interviews such as they are are almost solely w. Amalia herself (& a few close friends). She is a good, but not great subject. There are no interview subjects who are experts on fado or Portuguese culture & society, so we get no depth of understanding of her musical roots.

In short, this is a wonderful film that everyone interested in Amalia should see. But it's not a perfect or definitive work on the subject.

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Is It Too Late For An Amalia Appreciation Society In the U.S.?

Author: druid333-2 from United States
28 May 2009

With the fairly recent release of Carlos Saura's 'Fados' in the United States (albiet a limited art house only release),it's high time for a re-release of this fine documentary on Amalia Rodrigues. This film is a treasure chest of vintage film clips of Amalia on Portugese & American television,as well as various other film clips,including one of her & her Mother that could easily reduce the most macho man to tears. I first saw this fine documentary a few years back,when it received the unjustified "art house" release (it deserved far better). Fortunately, various recordings exist of Amalia's best recordings on various "budget line" recordings (which are generally available in places such as K-Mart,or Best Buy),or if you do a little searching,one can fine some of the original releases,either on E-Bay,or one of those distribution services that specializes in pricey European imported CD's. There are at least two versions of this documentary in circulation (the original Portugese version,with no English subtitles, and the U.S. version in Portugese with English subtitles,except the European version cannot be played on most U.S.DVD players,due to the PAL colour line system). Not rated by the MPAA,but contains nothing to offend.

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