Review: 'Fados'

Carlos Saura's documentary on the 'blues' of Portugal showcases a string of marvelous performers including the great Amália Rodrigues herself.

Carlos Saura's musical trilogy, which began with "Flamenco" and "Tango," wraps up with "Fados," a disappointing panorama of performances centering on the Portuguese song style of woe and worry – the "blues" of Portugal. As in those other films, Saura presents the numbers in heavily theatrical studio settings, and the near-abstraction freeze-dries (almost) the power of the music. In one instance, he includes a hip-hop rendition of fado that proves, if nothing else, that fado and hip-hop do not go together. Some marvelous performers are, nevertheless, on view, including Mariza, Camané, Caetano Veloso, and Chico Buarque de Hollanda, but Saura's archival rehearsal clip of the greatest fado singer of them all, Amália Rodrigues, is perfunctory. Grade: B-

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