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"Flamenco, Flamenco": When Pictures Say More Than Words 

Tuesday, Dec 23 2014
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Filmed by legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, director Carlos Saura's performance film Flamenco, Flamenco is a few dozen different flamenco routines, often against a backdrop of paintings by the likes of Picasso and Goya. The film was shot at the Seville Expo '92 Pavllion, the rafters of which are lovingly photographed at the beginning and end, and the sense of the proscenium is always there, which along with the frequently autumnal colors and precise cinematography evokes Scorsese's The Last Waltz. A mesmerizing celebration of what can be accomplished with just cameras, lights, and talented musicians, Flamenco, Flamenco is in Spanish with no English subtitles. There's no immediately obvious story, nor even an analog to Fantasia's Deems Taylor to give the performances context. This may be a dealbreaker for some, as Americans tend to shy away from music that isn't in English, less so than they might from music with no words at all. It's a shame, because music in other languages can become a purer experience, with the voice just another instrument, without the distancing effect and/or intellectual overlay of recognizable words. It's why sad songs tend to be more affecting in other languages, such as Rebekah del Rio's "LLorando" in Lynch's Mulholland Drive or any of a number of performances in Flamenco, Flamenco.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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