Pure passion cascades from the frames of "Flamenco, Flamenco," acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura's latest tribute to his country's unapologetically theatrical musical form.
The elegant film, which actually premiered overseas four years ago, is composed of 21 self-contained short performance pieces, incorporating both the traditional and more youth-oriented fusion flamenco styles.
Those familiar with the 82-year-old director's other similarly themed musical departures, including 1995's "Flamenco" and 1998's Oscar-nominated "Tango," know to expect something that transcends the generic concert-film approach.
Masterfully keying the compact performances into a striking lighting scheme that often bathes the musicians and dancers in warm golden or somber indigo hues representing the cycle of life, Saura's spare, elegant staging and the fluid, intimate cinematography by the great Vittorio Storaro ("Apocalypse Now") create an intoxicating effect.
It reaches a spellbinding crescendo with the number "Nana y Cafe," featuring a couple (dancer Eva Yerbabuena and singer Miguel Poveda) seemingly oblivious to the pouring rain that engulfs them.
Like the rest of "Flamenco, Flamenco," the piece is presented without needless subtitles. You don't have to speak the language to get drawn into the captivating performances — or set your toes tapping.
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes.
Playing: At Laemmle's Royal, West L.A., Laemmle's Playhouse 7, Pasadena, Laemmle's Town Center 5, Encino.