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It’s Friday night so that must mean it’s flamenco film night!

The Spanish film maker Carlos Saura started making films about flamenco in the 1980s and he has made some wonderful films including one of Manuel de Falla&rsquo’s El Amor Brujo, featuring the flamenco dancers Antonio Gades as Carmelo, Cristina Hoyos as Candelas, Laura del Sol as Lucía and Juan Antonio Jiménez as José. Carmelo is in love with Candelas but she is haunted by the ghost of her dead lover.

Carlos Saura’s film was released in 1986 and received critical acclaim, but let me draw your attention to a much earlier film version of El Amor Brujo, which was directed by Francisco Rovira Beleta and released in 1967.


In Rovira Beleta’s El Amor Brujo Carmelo is again played by Antonio Gades but Candelas is played by La Polaca, who is haunted by Diego, played by Rafael de Córdova. Morucha plays the part of Lucía. Despite the appearance of Antonio Gades in both, the films are so completely different and both so worthwhile to watch. In Rovira Beleta’s El Amor Brujo we see the Spain of 1967 during the Franco era, which was a very different one to that of 1986, post-Franco.

Manuel de Falla wrote El Amor Brujo for the flamenco dancer Pastora Imperio with the text by María and Gregorio Martínez Sierra. Pastora Imperio premièred it on 15 April 1915 at the Teatro Lara in Madrid.

© 2010 Thérèse Wassily Saba