Dancer Joaquin Cortes presents the beauty of flamenco in this toe-tapping documentary. Backed by 300 singers, dancers and musicians at a railroad station in Seville, Spain, Cortes displays the poetry infused in every step of the 18th-century dance. Aided by Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography, acclaimed filmmaker Carlos Saura possesses a talent for translating the kinetic energy of a live dance performance onscreen.
Ranked among Europe’s elite filmmakers, Carlos Saura had his greatest impact in the late ‘60s and early ’70s when his often politically charged films revitalized Spanish cinema. Like his mentor Luis Buñuel, Saura freely blends reality with the macabre and an often grotesque surrealism to create worlds in which reality is subjective. Saura was born the second of four children in Huesca, Spain. His father was a lawyer, his mother a pianist, and his brother, Antonio, grew up to become a noted abstract expressionist painter. In 1935, Saura’s family weathered the Spanish Civil War in Madrid. The war had a tremendous impact on Saura, and snippets of his vivid, often terrifying memories would later appear in his films. As a young man, Saura briefly studied engineering but at age 18 left school to become a professional freelance photographer. Specializing in photographing dancers and musicians, Saura made a name for himself and even staged two one-man exhibitions, the second of which featured… read more
By deconstructing the sounds and movements of flamenco, Saura allows those unacquainted with this rich tradition to more fully appreciate its fluidity and complexity. Although incredibly culturally specified and a little dated, the film's universal appeal is undeniable.