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Carlos Saura (Flamenco, Tango) devotes this exquisite 2007 musical to fado, a Portuguese song tradition that began during the 19th-century influx of rural poor and colonial emigres to Lisbon. Many of the songs reflect the melancholy, nostalgia, longing, or regret of the uprooted and dispossessed—a quality known as saudade—but the form is expansive enough to be comic, earthy, or rallying and to assimilate a contemporary genre like hip-hop. As in most memorable musicals, the dancing is as good as the singing: star vocalists like the glamorous Mariza, from Mozambique, and Lila Downs, from Mexico, are matched in passion and artistry by lissome dancers who practically shimmer under the guidance of choreographers Patrick de Bana and Pedro Gomes. Mirrors, video projections, split screens, and deeply saturated color help to communicate the many facets of this soulful genre, pulling the viewer further under its spell. In Portuguese with subtitles. 93 min.

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