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José Luis Garci
Interesting but overlong bio-pic of a great poet/playwright
This six-part miniseries mixes docudrama with documentary footage to trace the life of Spanish poet/playwright/activist Federico Garcia Lorca, who was executed in 1936 by supporters of the future dictator, General Franco, during Spain's Civil War.
Each episode opens with his execution by firing squad, and then flashes back to a different era of his life and Spain's political history. It traces his career, his friendship with such luminary figures as Salvador Dali, and his relationship with his family.
In an unusual move, the Spanish TV network cast British actor Nickolas Grace in the title role. At the time, he was best known in Spain for his performance in the British miniseries "Brideshead Revisited." In "Lorca," he acted his dialog in English (while everyone around him acted in Spanish), and recited Lorca's verse in British-accented Spanish. Then all of his speeches were dubbed by a Spanish actor. Strangely, the dubbing of the scenes that he acted in English works far better than the scenes where he recites Lorca in Spanish.
Grace's casting ensured the show's sale to British and American television, where it was seen under the title "Lorca: Death of a Poet."
The pacing is a bit slow at spots, and the first three or four chapters are a bit too episodic. But it's worth a look for anyone interested in this dark period of Spain's history and the life of a great artist.
Of particular interest are the final two episodes, which depict the military takeover of Spain and the bloodshed that attended the Civil War.
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