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4.1 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Fados completes the musical trilogy of award-winning Spanish director Carlos Saura's Flamenco (1995) and Oscar-nominated Tango (1998). Using Lisbon as a backdrop, he explores Portugal's most emblematic musical genre--fado. Tracing its African and Brazilian origins up to the new wave of modern fadistas, he ingeniously deploys mirrors, back projections, lighting effects, and lush colors to frame a collection of performances that survey a rich history of this art form. The result is a ravishing fusion of cinema, song, dance and instrumental numbers. Fados contains homages to such legends as Maria Severa and Amalia Rodrigues, as well as stunning turns by modern stars like Mariza and Camane; but Saura also expands the songs (which traditionally involve just a singer and a guitarist) with dance and encompasses other nationalities (with a special emphasis on performers of color from Portugal's former colonies) and idioms (such as hip hop, flamenco and reggae). Under the musical supervision of Carlos do Carmo, Fados features one of the finest world music soundtracks to date.

- 16:9 anamorphic presentation, enhanced for widescreen televisions
- "The Making of Fados": 25 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with director Carlos Saura and featured musicians
- Song and performer guide
- On-set photo gallery
- International trailers
- Director's note from Carlos Saura


"A celebration of human expressivity that, with a stripped-down soundstage and some extraordinary bodies, allows you to appreciate how emotion becomes art." --Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Mariza, Camane, Caetano Veloso, Lila Downs
  • Directors: Carlos Saura
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 20, 2009
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002GE8GJ0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,600 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fados" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul J. Vieira on October 22, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I preordered this dvd in August and it has been well worth waiting for. I have been listening to fado since my grandmother sang it to me in my craddle 61 years ago. I have been lucky enough to have known personally some of the great names of fado, like Amalia, Lucilia do Carmo, her son Carlos and Argentina Santos. Camane I heard for the first time some fifteen years ago when he walked in and did an imprompto set at Sr. Vinho at 2 o'clock on a Saturday morning. A year ago I spent my 60th birthday singing "fado vadio"(amatuer fado)with old friends in a small club in Bairro Alto in Lisbon. So when I speak of Fado, I know whereof I speak, even if I happen to be speaking English and not Portugues at the moment.

I can already hear the "purists" who will watch this film. "This is not fado because it is not traditional". I am old enough to remember when they said the same things about Amalia, Lucilia and Carlos because each brought their own interpretation to the fado they sang. Fado is a living art form. Not a relick to be preserved untouched in a museum. Carlos Saura has brought us "living Fado" with new and creative variations of music and dance. I hope those who already know fado and those who have yet to experience its magic will experience this film.
Paul Vieira of Greenville, RI and Lisbon, Portugal.
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As often as not art is comprehended not within the axiomatic framework of elements proposed by the artist, but within the context created by the audiences, based on their cultural boundaries and "pre-concepts". In the case of "Fados", it is clearly Saura's aim, to the regrettable anguish of a few people, to portray a music genre which for many decades had been confined within the realms of its country of origin, Portugal. But then came the Goddess Amalia, who dared to "break the rules", taking all her wonderful energy to the four corners of our planet, and suddenly, as by a magic spell or charm, Potugal awoke, to realize that the whole world had already become aware, and ready to assimilate, what had been devalued and belittled, relegated to Lisbon's underworld, since early in the 19th century. This music then crossed the borders and influenced nations all over the world, causing astonishment in those nationals who never believed that could ever be possible, and who used to see it under the guise of a folk-art manifestation, many times outside the limits of political correctness - Saramago is more read in Spain alone, or Japan or Brazil, than in his own country (where 67% of the population never read one single book!) And most of his work only get published in Portugal after having become well accepted in other countries; his Nobel Prize is surely not due to his compatriot's acclaim or popularity - All in all to say that Fado finally may have become another matter of Portuguese delayed praise, both socially and politically (it could as well be challenged that it is still, in Portugal, a regionalized capital's possession, for some purists do not even recognize its performance outside the auspices of Lisbon's district "Bairro Alto".Read more ›
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I had high hopes for this movie because I love fado and have been listening for many years. This film is an interesting overview of a lot of different styles of fado and the movie does make it's point that fado is widespread and varied depending on what part of the world it comes from. To me the old school is still where the great fado is happening - the place where fado really shines. There are some good performances here, and the director does a lot with a limited budget and palette, but the lighting, set design, and cinematography are really not as evocative as they could be.

I recently saw a live flamenco performance by Paco Pena (Royce Hall UCLA 2009) it was as spare a set as one could ever imagine, but it was beautifully lit and absolutely magical. This movie does not touch the potential for drama and effect that can be achieved with good lighting and simple set design. There are some interesting video background effects, at times they work, at times they are just distracting or flat. The lens focal lengths used are sometimes just a mistake.

Cinematic shortcomings detract from the real/potential drama of the performances. I found it better to just listen to the film rather than watch. It's just kind of flat looking even when it tries to achieve visual depth and drama. This is a good film to rent or watch as a download from net-flix... but it is definitely not an "owner". check it out somewhere on the web ( like youtube which has trailers and segments) before you drop cash on this one, or buy a cheap and or used copy.

There's a lot of dance action - some works and some really does not work well at all - some of the dancing is not even in time with the music.
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The director's claim is that the film explores the "heritage" of fado (perhaps as opposed to the fado itself). So, instead of fado, it highlights a grab-bag of Brasilian- and African-flavored music, sprinkled liberally with dance. When the film does show real fado, a subversive revisionism follows immeidately. You don't care for the classic "Foi na travessa da palha" by Lucília do Carmo? Then have a version with percussion and other non-fado instrumentation, sung by a competent singer (Lila Downs) who is, thankfully, not even Portuguese! Tired of that old fogey Alfredo Marceneiro? How about a rap and dance number that brings him into Saura's 20th century? The hits, indignities and misrepresentations keep on coming. One of the only islands of refuge in this mess is Argentina Santos, who is given one fado to sing and does so beautifully. But even here Saura subverts: instead of the homey, convivial atmosphere that is actually emblematic of the fado, he surgically inserts the singer into a stark and antiseptic space. She does her thing, then is wiped away, replaced by a dancing troupe bounding over a fire to the sounds of accordion and piano. This is a director who knows no shame.

Want to see fado on film? Watch Diogo Varela Silva's 3-minute short entitled "Fado das Horas"--for free. Want more? Watch anything in the series "Fado Today", or "The Art of Amália".
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