Director: Francisco Rovira Beleta
Spain, 1963, 112 min.
Los Tarantos is a 1963 Spanish musical drama film directed by Francisco Rovira Beleta. It was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category. The film is based on the play La historia de los Tarantos written by Alfredo Mañas, and inspired by Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
The love between two gipsies, Juana La Zoronga and Rafael El Taranto, from different families in Barcelona is thwarted by the enmity between their respective parents. Rafael sees Juana dance at a gipsy wedding, and is captivated by her beauty and charm, and they fall in love, aided by their younger siblings who are secretly friends and sympathetic to the young lovers.
New York Times: It is Rovira-Beleta’s “Los Tarantos,” and to give it the easy tag of “a Spanish ‘West Side Story'” is to slight its striking qualities as a distinctly Spanish expression in which magnificent flamenco dancing abounds.
And certainly the proud vital dancing by which the gypsies convey their moods — their joys, their sadnesses, their ardors, their sense of superiority — is so clearly and indigenously Spanish and has so much of the gypsy spirit and rhythm in it that this is the real distinction and dynamism of the film.
Although the great Carmen Amaya is the most distinguished dancer in it (this was her last motion picture; she died in November 1963), and her wonderful stomping and heel- clicking fairly raises the dust from the floor, she is not the only brilliant dancer.