Customer Reviews


19 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flamenco Puro
I lived in a small village in Andalucia for many years. I am very grateful that I can appreciate this film for what it is, a visual love poem to the place, people and passions of the region as Gatlif's previous film Latcho Drom was to all of Roma culture. Gatlif pays meticulous attention to every detail of how flamenco music and its people infuse and help define...
Published on August 29, 2005 by La Talareña

versus
4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars El sur de España y los gitanos que sufren.
I found this film to be disappointing. Yes, the music and flamenco dancing is wonderful. But as I am enduring this film I can't help but think that the director used every possible moment to "shove" some sort of dancing or singing into the story line which in and of itself needed a lot of work.
I love the culture from Spain and just about all it has to...
Published on March 23, 2004 by ABC_Easy_As_123


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flamenco Puro, August 29, 2005
This review is from: Vengo (DVD)
I lived in a small village in Andalucia for many years. I am very grateful that I can appreciate this film for what it is, a visual love poem to the place, people and passions of the region as Gatlif's previous film Latcho Drom was to all of Roma culture. Gatlif pays meticulous attention to every detail of how flamenco music and its people infuse and help define everyday Spanish life to this day. It begins with a remarkable homage to flamenco's Muslim heritage featuring a living flamenco legend, Tomatito. Although much is lost in the translation of the subtitles, lovers of a simpler, truly family-centered life will treasure poignant, visually satisfying vignettes of modern Spanish village life. An entire family living together and lovingly caring for a disabled family member. Gathering pomegranates together. The enormous paella outside cooking to serve 50 family members at a christening. People greeting one another as they get on the bus (this scene is from the heartbreakingly delightful short on the DVD which takes place in the sun-parched, narrow city streets of Almeria's gypsy neighborhood.). The cemetery rituals. The painted shutters and lace curtains on the windows. The family's widows - harvesting olives, whitewashing graffiti off the village walls, cleaning up after the previous nights' flamenco party. And the spontaneous outbursts of clapping, singing and dancing that occur anywhere - in the street, under a tree, on the bus. These are all scenes still visible every day; they were not staged for a movie.

The melodrama in this film is no different from the polite, socially acceptable melodramas that play out every day in our own society; reputations, families, relationships are destroyed in a very refined, sanitary, occult manner. The Spanish, and the gypsies in particular, have no concern for such posturing and show what is in their heart for all to see, even if it is the darkest pangs of human emotions. From this comes the unequaled, boundless complexity and depth of flamenco.

I have been very fortunate to study flamenco with an Andalucian gypsy who grew up with and learned from Spain's greatest flamenco artists, among them her most beloved dancer, Carmen Amaya. To understand this film, flamenco, and Spain, one must abandon all attempts to understand it and allow the duende - the spirit of flamenco - possess one's senses and one's soul. Flamenco is not contrived enough to worry itself about a theme, a story line or impressing an audience. It arises from a place deep within the soul that most of us keep carefully guarded and shut off. That Gatlif has exposed it, once again, for us to experience I'm certain is success enough for him.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Attention Flamenco Aficionados, August 29, 2003
By 
Enrique Torres "Rico" (San Diegotitlan, Califas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Vengo (DVD)
This is a powerful , hipnotic, tour de force movie that captures the soul of flamenco. Although it is not a documentary and is a drama it has the feel of a documentary. This is probably because the realism is brought out by Algerian-born director Tony Gatlif's use of "real" flamenco artists as opposed to actors. The lead is taken by Antonio Canales who in real life is a renowned dancer. Ironically he does not dance in the film but plays the role of a leader of a gypsy clan that is at odds with a rival clan of gypsies. The thin plot evolves around avenging the death of a family member of the rival clan. Caco is the name of Canales in the movie and he is a man with a heavy heart after the death of his young daughter and the responsibility of keeping his clan together and protecting his nephew who suffers, although you'd hardly know it, from cerebral palsy. Many of the scenes involving Caco and his nephew are funny as they romp from bar to as Caco looks to find him a "good time" with some beautiful women. The plot is nothing exceptional but the film draws it's superb power from the fantastic musical performances. Set in Andalusia, the stark landscape, the whitewashed churches contrasting with the dressed in black clan is a powerful reminder of the roaming gypsy existence steeped in a long ancestral heritage. The clan moves about in old cars, and a flat bed truck that doubles as a stage as they set up daily for their night of wine, dance and music. The fiery flamenco music is the real reason to see this movie. The performances by such greats as Tomatito, La Caita, Gritos de Guerra and La Paquera is nothing short of spellbinding. The close camera work reveals the duende in the faces of the performers as they collaborate for the best scenes of the movie, and there are many of them as it is full of emotion. An interesting aspect of this movie is how director Gatliff incorporates the history and ethnic mixes of flamenco into the film by using Sheik Ahmad Al Tuni as a vocalist on several songs amidst Turkish flutes blown by Kudsi Erguner, interwoven by masterful guitar work by Emilio Fernandez de Los Santos and Ramon Pisa Borja, who also sings on occcasion. Naturally all of the performances are accentuated by palmas(clapping), gritos( guttural shout outs) and lively percussion. Many of the singing and dancing performances are done by women and the harsh , throaty sounds emanate and penetrate deep from their souls. I keep saying performance but in actuality you feel as though you are not watching a performance but are watching a lively get together of family members; it is truly amazing stuff that will captivate you. The spontaneity of the clan in action is a dervish whirlwind of activity that is the extended family personified. As the clan adds color to the landscape by bringing out their huge pillows and blankets, the tranformation begins to take shape as the music starts to capture the spirit of southern Spain.You are more of a witness to an extraordinary celebration of life in spite of it's sometimes tragic consequences. If you love flamenco than you will love this movie. If you are new to or have limited knowledge of flamenco you will be engrossed and probably seek out some flamenco music afterwards. This is a powerful piece that reveals the soul of flamenco. Highly recommended for flamenco aficionados.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I suppose it should be possible to find a film as beautiful, June 8, 2005
This review is from: Vengo (DVD)
It's funny that a critic from the new york times could know so little about film. I will not say much except this is one of the most simple, most beautiful stories made into cinema; there is absolutely no artifice, no tricks, and every detail is pure and genuine. Tony uses faces Kurasawa could've killed for. You ain't seen nothing if you ain't seen this. The music, artists like Gritos de Guerra, La Caita, Sheik al Tuni, (seemingly unavailable on record, but better than anything I've heard,) seems to capture at once the joy and sorrow bound up in human life. Likewise the players, most not actors. In fact, the music is so integrated into the lives of the characters, in the end there is no division. For reviewers of respected periodicals, we would explain this is what is called thematic. So much for the standards of education in journalism. Even reviewers who really liked this movie did not fully understand this; like most really great art, it is ahead of the curve. I suppose it should be possible to find a film as beautiful as this, as simple and captivating, but none come to mind. Skip "Vengo" and your life will certainly be less rich.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An All-time Masterpiece, March 13, 2006
This review is from: Vengo (DVD)
It's really a pleasure to read some of the reviews on here and to share in the great appreciation and deep satisfaction that has been created by this film.

I think that if one has a personal understanding of the history of the circumstances which tie Andalucia and North Africa together, along with some of the cultural, social, and spiritual connections that are maintained between these two separate but connected worlds, the movie Vengo will strike you as being very symbolic.

There is a lot which is implied and will go right over your head if you are not aware of the culture and history of this region (as well as being aware of the life and struggles of Gatlif as a Gypsy man born in Algeria, caught between these two worlds). Gatlif does not spell anything out for you. He leaves it up to you to try to put the pieces together, and he knows that there are certain types of people, with a certain awareness, who will be attracted to his films.

I thought Vengo was incredibly deep with so much true emotion and so much of the subtle and misunderstood inner-struggles of the people of Andalucia being depicted through a number of overlapping stories and characters: The retarded nephew, the man whose daughter had died, the feuding Gypsy families, the exiled father of the son living in Morrocco, etc.

This movie told the tale of a people and their will to hold on to the purest ("Flamenco Puro!") sources of happiness and joy within their lives, amidst circumstances which seemed destined to tear them a part and undermine their unity.

An incredibly beautiful story with lots of information, emotion, and spirit. If you are open, this movie will touch your soul.

Viva 'l Flamenco Puro!!!

By the way, the soundtrack can be found at the link below:
[...]
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Music 5, story 2: Only for Flamenco lovers, May 2, 2004
By 
This review is from: Vengo (DVD)
You must love Flamenco music first, before you have any chance with this movie. It will not make you like Flamenco, but if you have a passion for it already there are wonderful musical performances here by great artists: The guitar playing, the complicated hand clapping, the singing, and dancers dancing in their regular street clothes as the flamenco erupts for the moment informally, as is the gypsy life style of Southern Spain.
The story is another matter; a vague beginning, poor and unclear plot development about two warring families, the need for revenge (VENGO), with a slight twist at the end. The plot development is so cloudy it takes a while to figure out it is all very standard. But there is an interesting, inspiring treatment of a spastic teenager as one of the crowd, very well done. This movie has highs and lows. The opening scene is wonderful combination of improvised flamenco and Moroccan music. It was 20 minutes later I figured out it was a funeral scene, later I realized it was a funeral scene for the main character's daughter, who I later figured out may have been a Sufi dancer. The movie is not a mystery, it is just lacking in explanation sometimes.
It is as if the director had a few very good ideas, putting them into the movie with much soul and fire, never worrying about the overall continuity, as if the passion was justification enough (perhaps that also is very gypsy). The DVD has practically nothing in the way of extras.
Final Word? If you like Flamenco, see this movie (I rented it from Blockbuster).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Todo bonito en Andalucia" - primo Alejandro, December 15, 2004
By 
Anna Ryklina (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Vengo (DVD)
This movie is very moving. For me, the beauty of it lies in the portrayal of the ways that gypsies deal with their sorrows and their traditions. Yes, the plot is simple, but there is so much beauty in its simplicity because it brings out so many details about the lives that we, westerners, don't know much about.

Let's start from the whitewashed village of Andalucia, where the family lives. You will see the chemistry, the bonds of the gypsy family life, the division of responsibility, so to speak, between the young and old, men and women. You'll see the infamous puti clubs, embodied by Caco's El Rey, the sad dealings of sorrow and revenge between two families that not many generations ago were brought up together. You will be profoundly affected by way that Caco, the protagonist, cares for his crippled nephew and will be very, very amused by Alejandro's search for cell phone connection in the middle of the highway.

All of the aforementioned factors make this movie very worthy of your time, without starting to mention the beauty of flamenco. One of the things that struck me was the ease with which Caco would throw parties and invite flamencos from all over Spain. The recently deceased La Paquera de Jerez sings por seguiriya, i believe, and La Cajita's presence will stir a few butterflies in your stomach, along with other flamencos, and most notably, the beautiful moorish dancers in white spinning to the old moor's voice will be a dance you won't easily forget.

I would definitely recommend this movie, not so much for flamenco purposes (which was mine) but for a better awareness of the gypsy culture. Now, please don't misunderstand me and quote me as saying that this is what the gypsy life is, because for most part, it's not, but it definitely brings some exposure about to values and their ways of life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!!! Watched it over & over for the whole day., January 14, 2006
This review is from: Vengo (DVD)
This is by far the best movie that I have seen that portrays the real life of a Gypsy. Though it is not a documentary, but you will learn a lot about the Gypsy way of life, their music, and most of all FLAMENCO in a very beautiful and touching story.

Your breath will be taken away from the very first scene. Awesome sights and awesome music. What can I say! Tomatito performs one of his most beautiful heart-felt solo accompanied with a group of Arabic Musicians. This heavenly moment alone is the reason what makes life so beautiful and precious.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a dream, September 13, 2003
This review is from: Vengo (DVD)
I am from the gypsy world so to me this movie is so real and so true that I was almost on the verge of tears. The music direction is amazing. This is like watching a Passolini movie - but a Passolini of modern days. The camera work is also good. If you get a chance watch this movie.
The movie is about that part of Spain which does not get publicity. Life here means more than football games and TV - it is music and the passion for music. Life and death are part of a flow where everybody gets the chance to die (some with honor and some as sacrifice). The passion behind this movie is beyond imagination - the only recent movie I can compare with is "Sound of Music" but at a much grand scale.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where is the soundtrack? I can't find it anywhere!!!!!!, January 30, 2005
By 
Handsdown (Maryland - USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vengo (DVD)
A stunning "audioscape" of pure flamenco. The only reason this film did not get a 5th star from me is for its over-acting and simplistic plot. But maybe that's not such a bad thing. It would take the focus away from the power of the music and cinematography. You can literaly pause the movie at any point, and find perfect shots of rich blends of colors and textures that capture the essence of this film, not to mention look like museum-exhibit-quality photos. But it was both the cinematography and music that made this film so stunning. The best scene by far had to be the old man and woman team under a tent in an open field, belting out complex and soul-stirring notes from simply a voice and a guitar. The true story of this film is in its music.

Now, how about that soundtrack???!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Passion, June 1, 2004
By 
James Steve Robles (Mora, New Mexico, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Vengo (DVD)
The title that I gave this review sums it up. This film is an excellent look at a people (Los Gitanos) whose every act or thought is infused with passion. Passionate dance, passionate music, passionate love of Life, and passionate hate. The essential plot concerns two feuding gypsy clans in southern Spain, Andalucia (the birthplace of Flamenco). A Clan's brother has been killed by the brother of the protagonist. The protagonist seeks to protect the life of his handicapped nephew, who is the son of the initial murderer. However, the story is played out to its tragic end with a backdrop of excellent Flamenco music and dancing. As with the story, Flamenco music and dance can not be easily described as beautiful, or even wonderful; some of the songs are quite discordant. The best word to use is compelling; one is entirely drawn into it emotionally, used up by it, and left exhausted, literally. It has an hypnotic effect to it, using all the themes of Life: Joy, Jealously, Betrayal, Love, Sex, and the tragedy of Death. This film and El Flamenco Puro are mirrors, held up to each other. This film, and Flamenco, are the stories of our lives, but told passionately. Always passionately. Watch the film, and be prepared to be swept away by the Passion!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Vengo
Vengo by Tony Gatlif (DVD - 2003)
Used & New from: $74.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.