Carlos Saura, born 1932, is one of Spain’s most renowned film directors. His breakthrough was Cria cuervos (Raise Ravens), a psychological family drama from 1976. Saura’s final international reputation came, however, with the so-called Flamenco trilogy, comprising Bodas de sangre (Blood wedding, 1981), Carmen (1983) and El amor brujo (Love, the magician, 1986). Subsequently, Saura has made many films which document dance or use dance as a formal element, notably Sevillanas (1992), Flamenco (1995), Tango (1998), Iberia (2005), and Flamenco, flamenco (2010). Blood wedding, however, is his very first dance film.
As to its format, Blood Wedding is a modest film. It is only 70 minutes long, it has a simple structure and the camera work is plain. This does not mean the film wouldn’t be rich or interesting. In this short essay, I will present some ideas on the place of Blood wedding in Spain’s cultural history, the structure of the film, its main themes, and some ideas as to how all this may be connected with psychoanalysis.
Saura’s film is the result of many adaptations. At the base there is a true story of family feud and bride robbery. Inspired by this material, Federico Garcia Lorca (who learned about the happenings from the newspapers) wrote a play (Bodas de sangre) in 1933. This play was adapted into a ballet, which Antonio Gades, a well-known dancer and choreographer, worked into a flamenco performance. Saura (who had been a photographer of ballet dancers in his young adulthood) saw a rehearsal of Gades’ performance, and used it for his film.
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