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Fados (DVD Review)

13 Sep, 2009 By: Angelique Flores


Prebook 9/15/09; Street 10/20/09
Box Office $0.13 million
$29.99 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Mariza, Carlos do Carmo, Caetano Veloso, Lila Downs.

If you’re not a fan of fado music, this film will make you one.

Award-winning Spanish director Carlos Saura’s film features 18 fados (19, if you count the one playing during the opening credits, and you should since it won a Goya). Fado is a type of music from Portugal, with influences from Brazil, Mozambique and Cape Verde.

Popular and legendary fado singers, and singers from other genres, sing fados against a variety of stunning backdrops with rich lighting, archival footage of deceased fado singers, photographs of Portugal and in innovative use of mirrors and back projections.

The songs also feature modern dancers and the musicians. While there’s no fado style of dance, these dances add a visual to match the emotional fados. All these elements make this film more of a cinematic experience than watching a live concert on DVD.

This award-wining film offers little about the history and technical aspects of fados. However, some bonus materials help fill those gaps. The making-of featurette offers behind-scenes footage with Saura, the singers, the musicians, the dancers and the choreographer. An insert inside the package contains a song and performer guide as well as the director’s notes.

The songs in the film are fulfilling in terms of listening to fados. But I was still left hungry to learn more about the genre. I think that was the director’s intention.   

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