Nice documentary on the brilliant flamenco guitarist
Ian K. Hughes | San Mateo, CA | 03/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""LIGHT AND SHADE" is a well-made British documentary from 1993 about the great Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia. Although of short length ( approx 60 min ), the documentary / interview ( available in Spanish, English and French ) is a good introductory look at his family history, musical career and outlook on flamenco culture ( and of life as a whole ). Paco is well known in flamenco circles as a wise and thoughtful man ( if one with a streak of melancholia ) and thankfully, his sense of humor is seen in places. The documentary starts out with Paco's ( nearly ) complete performance of his virtuosic composition "La Barrosa". For those not familiar with the flamenco guitar, the DVD features of freeze frame and slow motion will allow a close-up view of what many musician's consider the world's most advanced guitar technique. Along with the actual interview, which weaves through the entire documentary, are short clips of Paco's performances in the 1970's and 1980's: these include performances with his friend Camaron de La Isla, with jazz guitarist John McLaughlin, and with his touring group ( the Paco de Lucia Sextet ). There is also a fascinating clip from his recording session of composer Joaquin Rodrigo's famous "Concierto de Aranjuez". "LIGHT & SHADE" is not a definitive biography nor does it pretend to be ( the only satisfactory book about his life is in Spanish ). It is however a noble introduction to a musician who continues to exemplify the living flamenco tradition and bring both its vibrant musical life and his individual genius to audiences around the world."
Great approach to Paco
C. Zamora | Baltimore, MD | 06/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD has great quality in both sound and video. One of the things that makes me appreciate it the most is the fact that it is one of the very few DVDs featuring Paco de Lucia available in this continent. The documentary is rather short. It is, of course, a documentary, and not a concert video, but I guess that most of us are craving to see Paco in action. There are so many great concerts that could be revived by remastering and bringing them to DVD. By the way, there is new double DVD featuring Paco's biography and some complete concerts, including Aranjuez. It is called "Francisco Sanchez - Paco de Lucia". The bad thing is that it has only been released for PAL. Come on guys! Bring Paco de Lucias's duende to the rest of the world!!!"
Luis M. Benito | San Diego, CA USA | 09/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is an insightful documentary that takes us into the life of Paco De Lucia through personal interviews with the musician, his family and Flamenco experts. If you are, as I am, enchanted by Paco de Lucia's masterful guitar playing and are interested in his background, the philosophy behind his music and his biography, you'll be fascinated by this film. It should be a complimentary addition to your library of Paco de Lucia's CD's."
Flamenco meets Short Attention Span Theater
Paul Magnussen | Campbell, CA USA | 05/01/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Paco de Lucía is without doubt one of the greatest and most influential geniuses the flamenco guitar has ever seen, and so a biographical documentary cannot fail to be (potentially at least) of the greatest interest.
Unfortunately, this one features some of the most dreadful direction I've ever seen.
Lucía's career may be divided simply into several distinct phases:
* Child prodigy
* Flamenco guitar soloist
* Accompanist to Camarón
* Pop star
* Jazz/fusion guitarist
* Classical guitarist
All of these are presented, but jumbled into a giant dog's breakfast without any apparent system. Even the musical performances are hacked into pieces, shuffled and aleatorically reassembled.
This is a pity, because the DVD contains a great deal of fascinating material, such as a video of Antonio Mairena with Ricardo on guitar, a bulería by Camarón with Paco, and an early juerga at Camarón's home.
Although this is a British production, the sound-track is available in Spanish, English or German; and here we come to another problem. Because when Spaniards are interviewed, we get not subtitles but voice-overs. There are French and Japanese subtitles as well; but even if you choose French subtitles, you still, insanely, get the English voice-overs. I didn't try the Japanese subtitles.
Now, voice-overs are fine when (for example) the BBC is giving you the main points of a speech by the French Prime Minister -- that is, for about 30 seconds. But in large doses they're very wearing indeed; and this is particularly unfortunate because this DVD has one of the most interesting interviews with Lucía I've seen (actually, it's more of a fragmented monologue).
Nor can you even skip the interviews and then watch them in the original Spanish, because they've been dismembered and splattered all over the program.
The other main interviewee is Paco's sister María, who perpetuates the story that "Entre dos aguas" was thrown into Fuente y caudal as an afterthought (this despite the fact that it's the first track on the album, it's the only track to feature bass and bongos, and Philips had already been busting its guts trying to sell him to a wider public -- successfully this time, of course). Nobody bothers to talk to Ramón or Pepe.
So four stars for the material, one for the production.
The Spanish biography Francisco Sánchez is longer (two DVDs), more interesting, more coherent, features complete performances, and gives you English subtitles (although no German). If you're not a German, then, I would advise you to get that instead -- or at least first.
For the future, my (possibly unwanted) advice to the director of "Light and Shade" would be the same as that of the King of Hearts to the White Rabbit: Start at the beginning, go on until you get to the end, and then stop."