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Posted by martinteller on May 4, 2013

Basically a precursor to his film Flamenco, Saura presents 11 performances of the music and dance of the Seville region of Spain.  Saura introduces each performance with onscreen text to identify its style: bolero, flamenco, classical, and so forth.  There is no story, no characters, just the musicians and the dancers doing their thing.  However, the feel here is slightly more loose and casual.  The inclusion of the participants getting ready and filing into the space and having some light banter recalls the earlier Blood Wedding, so it’s kind of a bridge between that and Flamenco.

The staging is very sparse, essentially just a white room with bare floors, though one number employs mirrors.  Variations in lighting and costuming (gorgeous costumes!) help to mix things up a little.  And of course, the performers are grand.  There aren’t any really high highs, but there are no true low points either.  A few of the pieces are somber in tone, mostly they’re a lot of fun.  In the final dance, a group of children partake in the festivities, strutting their stuff as enthusiastically as the seasoned pros.

These performance documentaries of Saura’s are tricky to write about, especially since I’ve written about quite a few of them already.  They’re delightful and beautifully presented.  As this one is short (51 minutes) it may be a good entry point for the newcomer, although it’s not easy to get your hands on.  Rating: Very Good (81)


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