“Flamenco Women”
Director: Mike Figgis
USA/Canada, 1997, 51 min.

Delicate yet deafening, fierce yet gentle, the Spanish art of flamenco overwhelms the senses and inflames the spirit. In Flamenco Women, director Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) focuses on an ensemble brought together just six days before a performance as it struggles to orchestrate the guitars, singers, and dancers under the gun. Using almost no narrative, Figgis lets the raw footage of the rehearsals tell the story of frustration and building excitement. The rhythms of the pounding feet and the swaying bodies are hypnotic, the singing is powerful and moving, and the artists’ devotion is palpable. If the rehearsals are merely exciting, though, the performance itself is absolutely stunning, a masterpiece of passionate precision. It’s no substitute for a month in Barcelona, but for most of us it’ll have to do. Olé! –Rob Lightner