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Carlos Saura's adaptation of Manuel de Falla's flamenco ballet. What the continuing spate of dance films from this director (Blood Wedding) has to do with cinematic artistry remains a mystery, though here at least some of his old surrealism resurfaces to counterpoint the indifferent choreography. There's an air of primal brooding in Saura's playing with the elements of archetypal magic—fire, wind, rain—and the artificial, closed-in styling (in a tight studio container, complete with eerie scrim lighting and insistent wind machine) suggests an affinity for Val Lewton-ish forms of supernatural unsettlement. Unfortunately, the surreal all too quickly becomes the earthbound whenever the dancing starts, and the potboiler emphases of the story line aren't helped any by Saura's heavy dramatic hand. With Antonio Gades, Cristina Hoyos, Juan Antonio Jiminez (all a bit long in tooth for the youthful roles they play), and Laura del Sol (1986).

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