Aug. 01, 2012 - Issue #876: The Art Of Serving
The film is unburdened by commentary or explanation; it's all performance, which serves as its own kind of context: the history is in the art itself. Over the course of Flamenco Flamenco, we see the same gestures emerge from very different bodies with different stories to tell; we hear the same musical motifs emerge from different instruments, different hands, different voices. The film's diverse interpreters convey something of the scope of flamenco's variations on grief, longing and celebration. What's never lacking is intensity; again and again we hear the anguished, protracted, undulating vowels drawn from the viscera of some singer whose face strains and gushes; we hear the collective cries of the chorus; we see torsos expand and then whither, hips and heels prance percussively, long limbs strike poses of fortitude in times of loss. And of course we see a lot of men with fluffy mullets or long flingy curls encrusted with too much hair product. That's just how these guys roll.
What's disappointing in Flamenco Flamenco rarely has anything to do with the performances; it's a matter of how little Saura and his fellow filmmakers bring to the proceedings. Carmen and Blood Wedding, Saura's flamenco-drenched adaptations of the early 1980s, juxtaposed duration and a bold use of space against the fiery choreography in far more integral, riveting ways than what we find here, in this film that employs corny painted backdrops of landscapes and rainbows, and is often covered and edited in a manner that feels awfully close to the most conventional sort of adult contemporary music video. The are exceptions to this approach—during one piece performed under artificial rain, the camera stays very close to the dancer's front, as though trying to console her, while nearby a singer keeps asking someone to sleep in his arms—but not enough to make Flamenco Flamenco feel like an especially relevant chapter in Saura's career.
Fri, Aug 3 – Thu, Aug 9
Directed by Carlos Saura
Metro Cinema at the Garneau
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