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Flamenco (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on May 24, 2013

I finally found a somewhat reasonably priced copy of the out-of-print DVD on eBay.  I’d feel silly writing an in-depth review, considering I wrote about it less than two years ago, and already this month I’ve reviewed two other very similar films by Saura, including the “sequel” to this one.  Besides, if I haven’t convinced you yet that Saura’s performance films are worth seeking out, I doubt there’s any more I can do.

But I will say that, with Flamenco, Flamenco still fresh in my mind, Saura definitely improved on the original.  Not that my opinion of this film has lessened, just that the newer one is even better.  Here, the stretch from the 20-minute mark to the 60-minute mark still strikes me as way too heavy on ballads.  In the DVD era, of course, you can just skip ahead if you feel it’s getting too slow (are there still players that let you re-sequence the chapters, or did that feature die out?).  But it’s a flaw in the movie, this long section needs a couple of uptempo numbers to break up the slower pacing.

And I like the visual style of the newer film more.  Some may prefer the ultra-minimalist aesthetics of this one, and Storaro’s lighting and photography is certainly gorgeous, but I find the more stylish and varied imagery of Flamenco, Flamenco helps offset the slight sense of same-iness from the performances.

Still, there’s a lot of great stuff here, and all the singers, players and dancers are exceptionally talented and a pleasure to behold.  Rating: Very Good (84)


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