Thursday, May 8, 2008



If you don't know what fado is, after the musical documentary "Fados" (Portugal/Spain 2007, 93 min.), you will fall in love with fado.

From acclaimed Spanish director Carlos Saura, unlike any other documentary, this film does not have any talking heads, nor voice over narratives, nor story lines. It simply puts a few most fantastic Fado pieces together, accompany with splendid choreography and carefully arranged color and background. The film lets fado speak for itself.

And it works, wonderfully.

I began to learn about fado when I visited Lisboa last year. This film not only brings back to the memory about the voices at the local cafes, it also brings back the fond memory about the beautiful city, Lisboa.

Always with their eyes closed, fado singers passionately covey sentimental tales with their unforgettable voices. The fado music is deeply moving and extremely sad, most of the time. Just by listening to them, like many others in the theater, I instantly have tears in my eyes. Fado is charged with extremely rich and powerful emotions that affect its listeners, as well as its performers.

Cuca performs in FADOS

This film might not be as conventional as most documentaries you have seen, just like fado is not as most other music you have heard either. However, the film will profoundly touch you, because fado will.

"Fados" was shown at the 51st San Francisco International Film Festival (SFiFF).


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