(director/writer: Carlos Saura; screenwriter: ; cinematographer: José Luis López-Linares; editor: Julia Juaniz; music: Roque Baños; cast: Sara Baras, Antonio Canales, Marta Carrasco, Enrique Morente; Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Álvaro Longoria; Film House; 2005-Spain-no dialogue)
“A fine Spanish musical documentary directed with panache and passion, in the studio, with colorful minimalist sets, by Carlos Saura.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A fine Spanish musical documentary directed with panache and passion, in the studio, with colorful minimalist sets, by acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura (“Carmen”/”Tango”/”Flamenco”). It’s a celebration of the Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz’s (1860-1909) Iberia work that’s performed by some gifted well-known Spanish musicians, singers and dancers, who give us artistic variations of the suite.
The film offers a unique viewing experience, where the music is the thing and all diversions yield to Saura’s gift of making it work as a rich aesthetic experience. I highly recommend Iberia, especially, to those unfamiliar with Albeniz, who might want to experience a good sampling of Spanish culture.
Perhaps the second musical sequence, titled “Aragón,” is meant to show the importance of preserving the country’s musical heritage for future generations. An instructor leads a group of casually dressed youngsters under her command through basic flamenco moves, while in the background adult musicians play. The children are thrilled with the music and enjoy watching themselves perform in a full-length mirror.
REVIEWED ON 6/26/2013 GRADE: B+