Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Portugal/Spain, 2007. Duvideo, Fado Filmes, Zebra Producciones. Screenplay by Ivan Dias, Carlos Saura. Cinematography by Jose Luis Lopez-Linares, Eduardo Serra. Produced by Ivan Dias, Luis Galvao Teles, Antonio Saura, Jose Velasco. Production Design by Carlos Saura. Film Editing by Julia Juaniz.
Continuing a series of films in which he celebrates aspects of Iberian musical culture, Carlos Saura extends his net a little further west from his native Spain towards Portugal and makes a film about the nation’s folk singing tradition. Like his Flamenco, it is merely a collection of performances without a plot (unlike Tango, which attempted a thread of narrative in between the plentiful dance scenes), but while Flamenco eventually wears on its audiences’ nerves, Fados does something magical that keeps you nailed to your seat for its entire running time. A variety of settings, from ultra-modern screen blowups to traditional-looking fado houses, plus a great variety of performers including established veterans and newcomers (and some file footage to boot) make for a richly varied experience. The songs are all gorgeous and everyone sounds terrific, and the English subtitles for those who do not speak Portuguese help get you even further into the stories that the songs tell.
European Film Award Nomination: Best European Documentary
Toronto International Film Festival: 2007