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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

The Art of Amalia
Directed by Bruno de Almeida
Avatar Films 12/00 DVD/VHS Documentary
Not Rated

In his brief introduction to this documentary on the career of Amalia Rodriguez , pop singer and songwriter David Byrne refers to her singing as "an explosion of emotion." She pioneered and perfected the art of fado, a melancholic lament that seems to be exploring all the mysteries of life and death. In 1959, Variety proclaimed the queen of Portuguese music as "one of the four best voices in the world."

This 90-minute documentary contains 67 songs by Amalia Rodriguez (1930 - 1999) from her 50 albums, concerts, television appearances, and films. Director Bruno de Almeida centers his exploration of her busy career on interviews with the diva. The only glimpse of her private life is a segment where she talks about a tumor and her idea of committing suicide. But Amalia rented films about Fred Astaire and pulled herself out of that depression.

There is a collaborative side to this singer's fame and good fortune. Many gifted fado writers gave her new material to work with over the years. In addition, Amalia utilized poetry in her creative output. More than anything else, this documentary vividly demonstrates the universality of music from the heart. Although sung in what to many is a foreign language, her songs connect with the emotions of audiences all over the world.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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