FADOS (2007)

Running Time: 90 mins.                                Rating: 3 Stars/5 Stars

MPAA Rating: NR

Director: Carlos Saura

Genre: Documentary/Musical

Country: Portugal

Language: Portuguese w/English subtitles

Distributor: New Yorker Films

Cast: Chico Buarque de Hollanda, Camane, Carlos do Carmo, Lila Downs, Cesaria Evora, Toni Garrido, Lura, Alfredo Marceneiro (archival footage), Mariza, Miguel Poveda, Amalia Rodrigues (archival footage), Argentina Santos, Ana Sofia Varela, Caetano Veloso, Ricardo Riberio, Ricardo Rocha, Jaime Santos, Catarina Moura, Cuca Roseta, Mario Pachecho, NBC/SP & Wilson, Lucilia do Carmo, Victor Jara Brigade, Pedro Gomes, Paulo do Carvalho, Maria De Nazare, Vicente de Camara, Carminho, Pedro Castro & Joel Pina

Fado, the flamenco of Portugal is on full display here in Carlos Saura’s latest musical tribute FADOS.  As with his earlier films, FLAMENCO (1995) and TANGO (1998), Saura tells the story of a lower class music genre without dialogue, just musical set pieces.  Dating to the 1820s slums of Portugal and most likely earlier, fado (“destiny”) is composed of melancholic vocal and instrumental ballads of a sentimental nostalgic nature.

Saura’s camera prowls through a large soundstage swooping in on singers, musicians and dancers paying tribute to fado past, present and future.  Interspersed throughout are screens on which Lisbon cityscapes and vibrant colors serve as backdrop to soulful performances by a who’s who of fado performers and cross-genre singers such as Caetano Veloso and Lila Downs (who performs at Carnegie Hall on March 20th).

The film is split between the disciples of “classic” fadista Alfredo Marceneiro and “modern” fadista Amalia Rodrigues.  Showcased are the new generation expanding fado beyond the borders of Portugal and its’ former colonies, Mariza, Ana Sofia Varela and Ricardo Ribeiro.

If you like this recommendations: The Art Of Amalia, Flamenco, How To Create A Rumba