Blood Wedding, Carmen, El Amor brujo
Available Oct. 16
For its sixth release, Criterion's economy brand (lower price; no commentary or extras) assembles the three features the Spanish director made in the 80s with Antonio Gades. It's really Gades' flamenco trilogy: he's the star and choreographer of these dance films.
Blood Wedding, based on the Lorca play, is filmed as a dress rehearsal with no stops. It's made to look "live on film," though Saura's supple camera style brings the drama of love and revenge alive. Carmen folds the Merimee play and the Bizet opera into a backstage musical, here the star (Gades) falls in love with the ingenue he has cast as Carmen (sensuous young Laura del Sol). El Amor brujo plays the story of a dead husband against simple sets and fuchsia sunsets. The climax, where one couple embraces while the other woman dances off with her ghost lover, is about as close as flamenco comes to a happy ending.
This is more than a museum piece, a record of Gades and his dancing co-stars Cristina Hoyos and Joan Antonio Jimenez in toward the end of their prime. The display of machismo in motion the men in their billowing white shirts and tight black pants, the women strong too, their faces and bodies expressing a passion as powerful as mourning makes this the sexiest movie trilogy around.
Next You Kill Me, 2007