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  • Ile Aiye (The House of Life) - A Film by David Byrne
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Ile Aiye (The House of Life) - A Film by David Byrne


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Ile Aiye (The House of Life) - A Film by David Byrne + Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

ILÉ AIYÉ is David Byrne's breathtaking 1989 documentary on Candomblé, the African-influenced spirit cult of the Bahia region of Brazil.

ILÉ AIYÉ explores the ways in which Candomblé has influenced the daily life and culture of the people of Brazil in music, art, religion, theater, food, dance, poetry and more. ILÉ AIYÉ uses experimental film techniques, music, and cultural observation to express the life and rituals of Candomblé and the symbolic manifestation of the Orishás, the deities which represent the wide range of natural and spiritual forces. The rhythms of the sacred drums and bells, a dance of spiritual ecstasy, offerings and sacrifices, divination and the visitation of the Orishás through trance are all part of the color and life of Candomblé.

Complemented by the original score from David Byrne recorded with Bahian musicians, the music in ILÉ AIYÉ includes ritual music recorded during ceremonies as well as popular Brazilian songs influenced by Candomblé.

Amazon.com

With the earthy, yet otherworldly Ilé Aiyé (The House of Life), David Byrne (True Stories) explores the spirit cult of Candomblé. Based in the Bahia region of Brazil, the African-originated religion permeates all aspects of the culture. Byrne incorporates music, dance, interviews, and clips from old black-and-white Brazilian movies into his documentary. Narration is kept to a minimum and the visuals do most of the talking--along with the rhythmic, trance-inducing songs, accompanied by translations of their evocative lyrics. As befits a former art student--and Talking Head--Byrne does get a little "arty" at times, as when he places screens within screens (much like Peter Greenaway's Pillow Book). Fortunately, the effect isn't as distracting as it sounds and is only used sporadically. Ilé Aiyé is a must for fans of Byrne's groundbreaking Brazil Classics, Vol. 1 compilation, on which Tropicalia legend Caetano Veloso sings the lovely number of the same name. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Booklet with an introduction by David Byrne

Product Details

  • Directors: David Byrne
  • Writers: David Byrne
  • Producers: Kiki Miyake, Mel Lawrence
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Plexifilm
  • DVD Release Date: August 31, 2004
  • Run Time: 51 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002MFG3W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,502 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ile Aiye (The House of Life) - A Film by David Byrne" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By JG on October 29, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I remember vaguely seeing this film on PBS back in the mid to late '80s when it first came out. Seeing it now, I obviously didn't remember much. This is a great, great documentary. You will learn about the religion of candomble, which is a blend of catholicism and African rituals in Bahia, Brazil. This was a big influence for David Byrne during the "Rei Momo" period(and probably continues to be). The rhythms and dances these people do are nothing short of the DNA of rock and roll. You will also learn more about what makes David Byrne tick. As an example, it suddenly makes perfect sense why he would choose Whitney Houston's "I just wanna dance with somebody" as a cover song in concert. Finally, I dare say, you'll learn about life.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By kaioatey on December 3, 2007
Format: DVD
To me, Kandomble represents one of the best ways to experience and share religious feeling - a spiritual path where the entire body celebrates through music, rhythm and trance. Clearly, Byrne has been hooked as well.

This DVD represents a collage of images, syncopations, sweaty bodies, images of saints and possessed old ladies, filmed and collated with affection and deep sympathy. At times I thought I glimpsed a sparseness in the spaces between the narrative and the image, a holding back from being swept from holding the camera into the dance frenzy, that sort of reminded me of Werner Herzog. Ile Aiye's narrative is removed out of the ordinary into a place which is neither here nor there. Some might attribute such an approach to lack of concern with craftsmanship, but Byrne pulls it off relatively well. This film makes me want to BE THERE, in Salvador de Bahia, moving together with those bodies that were designed to move and to worship, to celebrate the ecstasy of being filled with the force of life. The words themselves, Oshun, Yemaya, Exu, Xango, Omulu... dance away effortlessly from the tongue...

Well worth seeing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bunnyrabbit4 VINE VOICE on May 26, 2011
Format: DVD
There is some very good information in this film but it lacks chapters or scenes making it very difficult to locate that information on replay. It is also not really a documentary in the ordinary sense, falling somewhere between an Art Film and a compilation of shorts about various aspects of Brazilian religious beliefs. The visuals and music are interesting but often, as is the case with the first song, they run longer than your interest in the subject given the limited explanation provided. Chapter headings would also have given the viewer a better idea of how the parts relate to each other. I don't doubt that David Byrne was very well versed on this subject. Unfortunately, having that knowledge can make it harder to see the gaps in understanding experienced by a less well educated audience.
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By Lucero on October 5, 2014
Format: DVD
This was quite disappointing. I'm famliar with the religion and this video was just boring. There are definitely other sources available (for free on youtube) that have better depictions of the rites that are practiced, as well as explanations.
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