Petenera – A Flamenco Drama in Music & Dance (2007)

by | Feb 23, 2008 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Petenera – A Flamenco Drama in Music & Dance (2007)

Performers: Elena Marlowe, José Galván, Teresa La Filgrana, Robin Brown
Studio: Music Film Factor
Video: 4:3 color
Audio: PCM Stereo
Subtitles: English
No region code
Extras: 3 performances by individual cast members, “Snapshots” – interview with Elena Marlowe & Robin Brown
Length: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Rating: ***1/2

Petenera is a legendary female death figure in flamenco lore.  Various folk tunes mention her with trepidation.  She is seen as a sort of mysterious femme fatale and regarded with suspicion and even superstition.  This drama uses a typical duo of guitarists, a flamenco cantador who sings the various verses about Patenera while moving about the stage, the lead dancer who portrays the woman, and various other women who dance with her.  The legend of Patenera is thought to date as far back as the middle ages.  One of the songs speaks of her being a Jewess and going to the synagogue; yet Spain banished the Jews in 1492 and none returned until after the Franco regime ended.

The flamenco drama was videotaped at five different venues over a period of three years, so the viewer sees different settings, atmospheres and video quality – though most of the performers taking part are the same.  Having the English subtitles is very helpful to making sense of the unfolding drama.  In a way there is even less dramatic action than a typical opera. I believe the primary audience for the DVD would be serious flamenco aficionados.  Not being one myself I must admit the finer points of the drama were probably lost on me. Some of the extras are poor video quality but would possibly still interest those more informed in the art of flamenco.

 – John Sunier

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