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World Music & Cinema

Vol 4. Spain & Portugal

The Iberian peninsula produces cinema of great sensitivity whose leading film-makers include the master Carlos Saura, to whom we owe Cria cuervos and its memorable refrain ‘Porque te vas’ sung by Jeanette. Saura’s filmography is rich in music and dance: Salomé and Tango are the product of collaborations with Tomatito, Roque Baños and Lalo Schifrin. Pedro Almodóvar, a director who knows how to mix strong images and entrancing music, is represented here with Tacones lejanos / High Heels and Hable con ella / Talk to Her featuring Luz Casal and Bau. Traditional popular music features in many Spanish films, sometimes revisited as in El gran Gato / The Grand Gato by Ventura Pons, a documentary about Javier ‘Gato’ Perez, the inventor of Catalan rumba, or more conventionally in Vengo by Tony Gatlif with Andalusian music and Pol’gono sur / Seville, Southside by Dominique Abiel with tzigane flamenco. It is the ‘Western’ tradition that is referred to by Alex de la Iglesia’s 800 balas / 800 Bullets, a Spanish hommage to Ennio Morricone. Portuguese cinema affirms its individuality with George Sluizer’s A jangada de pedra / The Stone Raft, in which the Iberian peninsula literally breaks off from Europe and floats off into the ocean. Dying to Go Home by Carlos da Silva and George Sluizer investigates the complex relationship between the Portuguese diaspora and its roots. Beautiful fados feature in both films; likewise in Tudo isto e fado by Luis Galvao Teles. Capitaines de Abril / Captains of April by Maria de Medeiros is accompanied by the Portuguese guitarist Antonio Victorino d’Almeida. Madredeus sing the music of Lisbon Story by Wim Wenders.