Utterly deep and absorbing; addicting
angelofvic from United States
12 July 2013
Wow, flamenco is not what you thought it was! Watch this emotionally
raw and fascinating documentary and even if you know little or nothing
about flamenco, you will emerge an aficionado, if not an addict.
If you are looking for castanets, polka dots, and ruffles, and
Hollywood-style dance moves, look elsewhere. You will not find a single
castanet in 'Kumpanía: Flamenco Los Angeles', and if you see ruffles or
polka dots they are quite the rare exception. What the extraordinarily
talented and dedicated performers (singers, guitarists, and dancers) in
this film are practicing and carefully upholding is 'flamenco puro' --
the style of flamenco that most closely reflects its origins among the
oppressed Gypsies in southern Spain in the 1700s. Flamenco at its core
is an expression of deepest emotional truth -- whether that is pain,
isolation, loss, or celebration, or all of those. Done well and
authentically (rare in the U.S.), it's absolutely mesmerizing.
The filmmakers do a wonderful job of storytelling here, moving from
18th-century Spain to modern Los Angeles, modern Madrid and Saville,
and even Japan -- deftly intertwining stories and performances;
opinions and emotions and history and deep life changes; singing and
dance and guitar. There's just the right mix of live performance
footage, heartfelt interviews, and informative historical information.
For instance one of the main singers of the film, the great Antonio de
Jerez, insists that unlike flamenco dancers and guitarists, a flamenco
singer must be born in Spain, because the precise soulful accent
required cannot be learned.
All in all, this is a great arts and performance documentary. While in
fact flamenco is an inextricable combination of singing, guitar, and
dance, I have to comment that this is one of the very best dance
documentaries I have ever seen, capturing the soul and spirit not only
of dance and dancers, but in this case the musicians involved as well.
Very well and artistically and informatively done. I've watched the
film four times -- it is that enthralling!
Performances (singing, dance, guitar): all intricate, all heartfelt,
all exceptional, all deliciously absorbing and often
goosebump-inducing. While these dozen or so performers currently based
in Los Angeles may not be familiar to a wide U.S. audience -- with the
possible exception of the sexy Timo Nunez who has been a guest
performer on "So You Think You Can Dance" and in other television and
film -- by the end of 'Kumpanía' you will feel like you know them
intimately. That is certainly the mark of a very well done documentary.
By the way, the film is viewable on Hulu, Amazon Instant, Amazon Prime
Instant, YouTube, and Rhovit.
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