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Vengo
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Reviews & Ratings for
Vengo More at IMDbPro »

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A Beautiful and Powerful Work of Art

10/10
Author: shawoody from New York City
8 November 2005

I think that if one has a personal understanding of the history of the circumstances which tie Andalucia and North Africa together, along with some of the cultural, social, and spiritual connections that are maintained between these two separate but connected worlds, the movie Vengo will strike you as being very symbolic.

There is a lot which is implied and will go right over your head if you are not aware of the culture and history of this region (as well as being aware of the life and struggles of Gatlif as a Gypsy man born in Algeria, caught between these two worlds). Gatlif does not spell anything out for you. He leaves it up to you to try to put the pieces together, and he knows that there are certain types of people, with a certain awareness, who will be attracted to his films.

I thought Vengo was incredibly deep with so much true emotion and so much of the subtle and misunderstood inner-struggles of the people of Andalucia being depicted through a number of overlapping stories and characters: The retarded nephew, the man whose daughter had died, the feuding Gypsy families, the exiled father of the son living in Morrocco, etc.

This movie told the tale of a people and their will to hold on to the purest ("Flamenco Puro!") sources of happiness and joy within their lives, amidst circumstances which seemed destined to tear them a part and undermine their unity.

An incredibly beautiful story with lots of information, emotion, and spirit. If you are open, this movie will touch your soul.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Family feud

7/10
Author: jotix100 from New York
13 March 2006

A family feud involving honor and integrity is at the center of this intriguing film directed by Tony Gatlif. We are taken to meet Caco, a man that is being threatened by an opposing clan because his brother Mario killed one of the Caracava men, something that will not be forgotten until justice is done. Since Mario is hiding in Morocco, Caco is a marked man because he represents his brother, the assassin.

Caco, is a man who loves his nephew Diego, that suffers from cerebral palsy. Diego, who is Mario's son, enjoys women like other normal young men his own age. Caco takes care for Diego to have a discreet encounter with a beautiful prostitute, la Catalana. Caco learns how the Caracavas are vowing to avenge their dead brother by sacrificing Diego.

"Vengo" mixes the action with music, song and dance performed by some of the best flamenco interpreters of the genre. Antonio Canales does a good job in his take of Caco, the head of his clan, and the loving uncle of Diego. Orestes Villason Rodriguez, who is physically handicapped, appears as Diego, who like any other member of this clan, loves his music and women with the same passion. Antonio Dechent appears as Alejandro, Caco's right hand man.

Tony Gatlif brings all the colors of Andalucia to a film and does justice to some of that exotic music and mixes the local gypsy music with Moroccan performers that add color to the movie.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Viva Vengo!!

8/10
Author: George Parker from Orange County, CA USA
31 December 2004

"Vengo" is a wonderfully alive feast of the flamenco music, dance, and rhythms of the contemporary Andalusia gypsies of Southern Spain built on a ominously rumbling story of a blood feud and death. Not your usual movie fare, "Vengo" divides its time equally between musical ethnic folk singing and dancing from gala festivities to impromptu "jam" sessions to funeral laments while inching the family feud story slowly forward with the kinetic tempos of flamenco rhythms everpresent. More art than entertainment, "Vengo" will appeal most to those into foreign or ethnic films with bold musical underpinnings. Those who enjoy "Vengo" might want to check out "Flamenco (de Carlos Saura)", "Assassination Tango", "Tango, no me dejes nunca", and the like. (B+)

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

I suppose it should be possible to find a film as beautiful as this, but none come to mind.

10/10
Author: (mjnuell@gmail.com) from United States
8 June 2005

It's funny that a critic from the new york times could know so little about film. I will not say much except this is one of the most simple, most beautiful stories made into cinema; there is absolutely no artifice, no tricks, and every detail is pure and genuine. Tony uses faces Kurasawa could've killed for. You ain't seen nothing if you ain't seen this. The music, artists like Gritos de Guerra, La Caita, Sheik al Tuni, (seemingly unavailable on record, but better than anything I've heard,) seems to capture at once the joy and sorrow bound up in human life. Likewise the players, most not actors. In fact, the music is so integrated into the lives of the characters, in the end there is no division. For reviewers of respected periodicals, we would explain this is what is called thematic. So much for the standards of education in journalism. Even reviewers who really liked this movie did not fully understand this; like most really great art, it is ahead of the curve. I suppose it should be possible to find a film as beautiful as this, as simple and captivating, but none come to mind. Skip "Vengo" and your life will certainly be less rich.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

a sublime portrait about flamengomusic and life

Author: korsmit (korsmit@home.nl) from Tilburg, Holland
18 February 2001

The story is told by images and music. A real semiotic statement and another ode to the love of music by the gypsie people. The film tells you a story about a vendetta and the consequenses of it, played by real people with deep human emotions. A honest document, another masterpiece after Gadjo Dillo and Lacho Drome. I love this movie and it made me laugh and weep, also I couldn't sit still during the music scenes with authentic flamengo/gypsie music. Any musiclover should see this film to explore the roots of spanish music.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Sublime

10/10
Author: moviemaestro from Amsterdam, NL
5 March 2001

Rarely have I seen a document as pure as Vengo. It's style, somewhere between drama and documentary, nor it's story line have what usually makes a great movie, yet the music, the honesty of the actors, the scenery, the general atmosphere make Vengo a masterpiece of European impressionist cinematography. Vengo narrates of pride and family honour, of music that comes directly from the depths of the soul, of duende. Go see it and love it. Chances are you'll buy the soundtrack recording immediately the next day.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A good documentary on flamenco

7/10
Author: gerardins78 from United States
16 June 2006

Indeed, not a bad documentary (barely a real film, the plot is just an excuse to the connection of the different flamenco scenes). Antonio Canales is surprisingly good as Caco, and the other characters are of no relevance to the story whatsoever. Orestes, Caco's nephew with cerebral palsy, is actually Antonio Canales' nephew. Undoubtable epic flavor in this escape/flamenco journey. Good details, as the nice landscapes in Cadiz and the references to Caco's relative "exiled" in the Spanish cities of North Africa. Great and not so commercial flamenco singers, such as La Paquera(R.I.P) and La Caita. Special attention to the closing song, "Naci en Alamo".

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

an excellent spectacle that merges music and image

Author: happyjuanpa from Los Angeles
24 July 2001

A simple story of gossip and revenge in a Spaniard little town is the core of a great flamenco/gitano musical film, where you can see the Today's best artist of this musical genre. With a non-conventional camera that catch your senses in every story moment, great narration, music-video clip quality editing and all of that is combined with the rhythm of every song. The tragedy is exposed from the beginning but director address you there until the last second of the last image. Recommended for those with passion running in their bloods.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Passion for Music and Music for Passion

9/10
Author: yiannis_michos from Greece
10 April 2001

It's an excellent film for those that love the music. One can trace the origins of flamenco and, in particular, its links with traditional Arabic music. An authentic passionate piece of art interpreted by authentic real people. Loved every moment of it and wanted to be one of those excellent musicians or dancers.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Dazzling flamenco concert wrapped in a flimsy blood feud plot.

Author: Roland Atkinson (thecineman) from Portland, Oregon
3 October 2003

For me there's nothing better than a film about the affairs of exotic people from other lands that is full of spirited music, no matter how flimsy the plot. "Vengo" is an exemplary case. It is the latest in a series of films about Romany people and their music made by Tony Gatlif. He brings impeccable credentials to the task: born in Algeria, raised in Marseille, his mother is Roma and his father a Berber. His best known film is the 1993 homage to Roma music, "Latcho Drom" (Safe Journey), which I have yet to see. "Vengo" is set in Andalusia, in southern Spain, in the city of Seville and surrounding villages. Here a rich tradition of Berber, Romany and Jewish origins has shaped the culture and given the world a distinctive music: flamenco. This film is best viewed as a flamenco concert featuring a number of different singers, instrumentalists, dancers and ensembles, most of whom are outrageously good. The musical numbers are connected by an insubstantial narrative, a loosely unfolding story of a blood feud, a dialectic of deaths, between two rural Roma families. Caco (the flamenco dancer, Antonio Canales, who doesn't get to dance at all here) is a bereaved nightclub owner and heavy boozer whose teenage daughter was killed by members of the Caravaca family. In return Caco's brother Mario killed a Caravaca man and is hiding in Morocco. The Caravacas now demand their turn for revenge and, in Mario's absence, let out word that they plan to murder Mario's son, Diego (Orestes Villason Rodriguez), a 20-something man who suffers from cerebral palsy. Caco dearly loves and dotes on Diego, his nephew, and is set into a crazed state by this news. The story moves toward a tragic sacrificial climax. The plot does serve to convey the essential truth that grounds the passion of these people: that suffering and death itself are inevitable counterpoints to love and family loyalty. This backdrop gives embodiment to the deep emotions expressed in the music. There is also a single very humorous scene featuring cells phones, perhaps the funniest bit about these obnoxious instruments in all of filmdom. The turn contributed by Rodriguez (as Diego) is impressive; it is welcome indeed to see a person with cerebral palsy act a major role, especially when the performance is built much more on humanity than on handicap. (In Spanish)

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