Cinematic Tribute to Soulful Fado

Cinema is not only a powerful social medium for entertaining; it also has tremendous potential to record and immortalize reality, beauty, ugliness and human imagination for the future. Probably one of the best ways to pay tribute to any art is to capture its essence through artists themselves on celluloid. Such documentaries are truly archives for the future.

Carlos Saura, veteran Spanish director who had earlier paid tribute to ‘Flamenco’ through his documentaries, has now given music lovers another classic gem in the form of the film ‘Fados’. This film is more of a documentary on traditional, sad, soulful songs of Portugal. Some of the renowed Fadistas (Fado performers) like Mariza, Caetano Veloso and Ricardo Ribeiro and their performances are integral parts of the film. Thus the film itself is a rich archive on Fado, as it traces history and evolution of soulful singing which celebrates sadness, nostalgia, loss and pain.

Fado is a musical genre of traditional Portuguese sad and soulful songs, Saudade being the representational feeling of the genre. These songs are more about nostalgia, separation, pain and loss but less about gaiety and joy. Thus they embrace dark and lonely emotions and give an unforgettable expression to tormenting thoughts.

Human life is defined by emotions. Mainstream cinema and media usually impose certain emotional stereotypes on society which unfortunately lack subtlety and depth. One needs films, music and art which appreciate deep emotions and dark beauty of the soul to enable one to feel alive, to relate emotionally and uniquely to the world around them. Fado celebrates sadness and the creative ability of artists to feel and express deep sorrow. It would indeed be great if more film directors like Carlos Saura explore inherent traditional richness of a place, its culture and talent of its artists thus keeping distinct art forms alive through changing times.

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