Eclipse Series 6: Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy

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Matt
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Eclipse Series 6: Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy

#1 Post by Matt » Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:07 pm

ECLIPSE SERIES 6: CARLOS SAURA'S FLAMENCO TRILOGY

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One of Spanish cinema's great auteurs, Carlos Saura brought international audiences closer to the art of his country's dance than any other filmmaker, before or since. In his Flamenco Trilogy—Blood Wedding, Carmen, and El amor brujo—Saura merged his passion for music with his exploration of national identity. All starring and choreographed by legendary dancer Antonio Gades, the films feature thrilling physicality and electrifying cinematography and editing—colorful paeans to bodies in motion as well as to cinema itself.

Blood Wedding

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Carlos Saura began what would become his trilogy with this depiction of a single dress rehearsal for choreographer Antonio Gades's adaptation of poet/playwright Federico García Lorca's tale of passionate revenge. No mere recording of a ballet, Blood Wedding (Bodas de sangre) uses gripping camerawork and heart-pounding rhythmic editing to evoke the experience of moving with the dancers every step of the way.

Carmen

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Saura's biggest international box-office success was this self-reflexive meditation on both Bizet's popular opera Carmen and the original novella by Prosper Mérimée. Antonio Gades plays a choreographer who gets involved with his neophyte lead dancer (Laura del Sol), and grows dangerously jealous. Depicting the ups and downs of their affair in between rehearsals for Gades's ballet, Carmen is a visually hypnotic hall of mirrors in which the dancers become inseparable from their personas.

El Amor Brujo

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The Flamenco Trilogy's most straightforward narrative is also its most forthrightly theatrical, a modern take on composer Manuel de Falla's gypsy ballet, dressed up in pink sunsets and hellishly red fires. Set in a dusty Andalusian village, El amor brujo (Love the Magician) is a seductive melodrama of a man (Antonio Gades) whose beloved is haunted by the ghost of another.

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Tribe
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#2 Post by Tribe » Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:17 pm

I wonder what shape these are in...they certainly could've made a good Criterion box set all by themselves. Nice release.

Tribe

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tryavna
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#3 Post by tryavna » Tue Jul 17, 2007 2:12 pm

As a fan of both Lorca and de Falla, I'm intrigued. But this seems like quite a daring choice so early in the Eclipse series. Strikes me as the kind of set that will take quite some time to earn a profit, since I imagine lots of folks will hold off until reviews and word-of-mouth convince them otherwise. Nevertheless, I guess that's what Eclipse is all about....

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#4 Post by portnoy » Tue Jul 17, 2007 2:53 pm

awesome awesome awesome. man this just makes me so happy. i'm such a huge saura fan, and he's so underrepresented on dvd (in all regions). this just made my day.

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thechallenger
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#5 Post by thechallenger » Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:22 pm

Tribe wrote:I wonder what shape these are in...they certainly could've made a good Criterion box set all by themselves. Nice release.
I agree and I wonder what the Amazon pre-order price will be (hopefully $27-$30)?

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My Man Godfrey
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#6 Post by My Man Godfrey » Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:34 pm

Finally! Man, I'm becoming, like, an Eclipse addict or something.

I'm also excited by the fact that, through six box sets, Criterion hasn't included one movie that I've seen before . . . and all of the Eclipse films have been, at worst, very interesting. The Saura movies look sensational.

Every time I hear a Nickelback song or the voice of George W. Bush, and wonder what evil deeds I committed in my previous life to be consigned to this time and place, I have to remind myself how many awesome DVDs are coming out next month.

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#7 Post by Nuno » Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:55 pm

Great news! I will definitely buy it.

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zedz
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#8 Post by zedz » Tue Jul 17, 2007 6:08 pm

Tribe wrote:I wonder what shape these are in...they certainly could've made a good Criterion box set all by themselves. Nice release.
Yeah, this actually seems to me like a slightly odd choice for Eclipse (not that I'm complaining), as they're eminently marketable to a larger crossover audience. Contrary to what tryavna said, I suspect this will be Eclipse's best-selling set to date. These films had a fair bit of art-house success in their day, they're an obvious grouping, can tap into the classical music and dance audiences, and the market for versions of Carmen seems to be inexhaustible.

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Tribe
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#9 Post by Tribe » Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:14 pm

I can't imagine that Criterion had any particularly difficult time finding good elements for these. My guess is that Criterion isn't going to release barebones box sets (ala Jean Renoir's Stage and Spectacle), so when it has a series that is obviously suited to a box set it'll go the Eclipse route unless there are sufficient supplements to justify the Criterion cachet.

Tribe

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#10 Post by CSM126 » Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:23 pm

Tribe wrote:My guess is that Criterion isn't going to release barebones box sets (ala Jean Renoir's Stage and Spectacle)
A documentary, an interview, and a handful of introductions counts as barebones these days?

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Tribe
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#11 Post by Tribe » Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:47 pm

CSM126 wrote:
Tribe wrote:My guess is that Criterion isn't going to release barebones box sets (ala Jean Renoir's Stage and Spectacle)
A documentary, an interview, and a handful of introductions counts as barebones these days?
Ya know, I take that back. For some reason, likely because I thoroughly disliked those films, I always imagined that that set only included the films and nothing else. But you're right...that box set did include some extras.

Tribe

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Gigi M.
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#12 Post by Gigi M. » Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:55 pm

Excellent news. Hopefully this means more Spanish films are on the way. One Spanish director who is missing even in his country is Luis Garcia Berlanga. His films, El Verdugo and Placido are among the finest films I've ever seen.

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#13 Post by eez28 » Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:18 pm

This set sounds awesome, wonder why there is a price difference for this 3 disc set when Fuller is also 3 discs and its SPR is $5 more.

Another interesting thing about this release is that it totally blows my private theory away about criterion/eclipse. I had always had in my mind a feeling that if a director had a set released in eclipse it would eliminate them from having a release in the standard criterion catalogue. For instance, since we had such nice eclipse releases for bergman and malle I had no inclination to believe I would see anything from them until next year. So when members here were predicting a suara set, I was expecting it sometime next year since we are getting Cria cuervos… oh well.

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thethirdman
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#14 Post by thethirdman » Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:34 pm

eez28 wrote:This set sounds awesome, wonder why there is a price difference for this 3 disc set when Fuller is also 3 discs and its SPR is $5 more.
The MSRP for the Fuller set is also $44.95 at most online retailers. Criterion has not yet made the change to their own site.

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Lino
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#15 Post by Lino » Wed Jul 18, 2007 4:13 pm

These 3 movies are great. I have them on Spanish DVDs with English subs for the longest time (oh, they come with trailers too) and they really work very well as a sort of trilogy as they all have the same leading man throughout. He's a terrific dancer too.

Curious to see how the transfers will fare.

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pauling
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#16 Post by pauling » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:03 pm

Would one of those be the Suevia disc of El Amor Brujo? My girlfriend just returned from Spain and picked it up for me but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet.

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#17 Post by Lino » Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:27 pm

Yes, it is. That edition is quite old now and I bet that Eclipse's transfer will be substantially better. I hope so, anyway as I'm really looking forward to this release.

Forget Joaquin Cortez - you have never seen flamenco dancing like this on film! It's electrifying!

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#18 Post by malcolm1980 » Fri Jul 20, 2007 12:53 am

I've been wanting to see more of Carlos Saura's after Cria Cuervos which I loved. Any more recommendations beyond these?

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#19 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:04 pm

I for one have never seen Cria Cuervos. This set looks very good, but I don't want to be stuck with Cria Cuervos and Flamenco Trilogy. Where should I start? I greatly enjoyed Spirit of the Beehive, but I also loved Red Shoes.

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Lino
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#20 Post by Lino » Fri Jul 20, 2007 3:22 pm

malcolm1980 wrote:I've been wanting to see more of Carlos Saura's after Cria Cuervos which I loved. Any more recommendations beyond these?
Tango and Salome are pretty good if you like dance on film. For narrative, go for Goya in Bordeaux or Peppermint Frappe, which I've not seen but reportedly it's one of his best and goes back to the time when he was married to Geraldine Chaplin.

Oh, and DVDgo.com in Spain sells loads of his films on DVD, FYI.

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tavernier
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#21 Post by tavernier » Fri Jul 20, 2007 3:45 pm

Of course, his greatest film is The Garden of Delights, which is not on DVD in R1 yet. Criterion???

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#22 Post by Bajaja » Sat Jul 21, 2007 11:49 am

I am OK with this Eclipse release, but--if Saura, then rather The Chase, Peppermint Frappe, Ana and the Wolves, Garden of Delights, Cousin Angelica... I sincerely hope that these will eventually turn up somewhere with English subtitles.

I am taking this opportunity to ask again my question about Saura's El Dorado: Has anyone seen it? Any comments? Thanks.

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#23 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:11 pm

Lino, is the Flamenco Trilogy strictly speaking dance on film or does he springboard from it to make the films more than recorded dance performances? The film synopses sound as if the films do, but I'm still curious. I love dance on film, but I also wonder how he makes the material cinematic.

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#24 Post by portnoy » Sat Jul 21, 2007 11:08 pm

Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:I for one have never seen Cria Cuervos. This set looks very good, but I don't want to be stuck with Cria Cuervos and Flamenco Trilogy. Where should I start? I greatly enjoyed Spirit of the Beehive, but I also loved Red Shoes.
You can't go wrong with Peppermint Frappe, Ana and the Wolves, Garden of Delights, Los Golfos, The Hunt, or the stunning Elisa, vida mia (other than Cria Cuervos, probably my favorite Saura).

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#25 Post by Lino » Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:37 am

Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:Lino, is the Flamenco Trilogy strictly speaking dance on film or does he springboard from it to make the films more than recorded dance performances? The film synopses sound as if the films do, but I'm still curious. I love dance on film, but I also wonder how he makes the material cinematic.
Carmen is more narrative driven while the other two are more dance oriented but all three are equally cinematically gripping and exciting to watch because the camera is always moving and there are lots of close-ups to keep you busy with.

This is good cinema from every which angle you see it. Riveting, even.

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