El amor brujo (1967)

aka Witch Love, Bewitched Love
Article 5028 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-24-2015
Directed by Francisco Rovira Beleta
Featuring Antonio Gades, La Polaca, Rafael de Cordoba
Country: Spain
What it is: Drama

Two men vie for the heart of the same woman.

The only copy I was able to find of this one was in Spanish without subtitles, so I had to do a little research on it. The movie is based on a ballet about a woman in an arranged marriage who loves another man. When her husband dies, she thinks she’s free to pursue her true love, but the husband’s ghost refuses to let her go, and she must find a way to get rid of him to win her true love. However, the movie version appears to modify this plot, largely removing the ghost angle and turning the story into two lovers, one good and one evil, competing for the same woman. However, the ghost angle does not appear to have been jettisoned completely; at the beginning of the movie, she thinks her husband is dead and that his reappearance is that of a ghost.

Despite having been based on a ballet, the movie is not one, though it does use dance extensively, particularly in some rather striking and eerie dream sequences, particularly one in which the woman is chased by several zombie-like characters. The language problem prevented me from effectively following the plot, but it is directed with a striking visual sense and is very well acted. It was an Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Film for the year it was released, so it’s definitely a more cultured affair than most of the Spanish movies I cover for this series (which usually star Paul Naschy). I was able to enjoy many of the visual elements, but until I get around the language problem, my enjoyment of this one will be somewhat limited.


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