The Art of Amália

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The Art of Amália is a documentary by Bruno de Almeida on the artistic career of Amália Rodrigues (1920-1999), the celebrated Fado singer from Portugal. This 90-minute film is based on a previous five-hour made-for-television mini-series on the singer that dealt with her life and career; it was also de Almeida’s fourth cinematic project celebrating Rodrigues’ career.[1]

The film opens with an on-screen introduction by David Byrne, who praises the singer for “singing in these fado songs about the sadness of the universe, not only about a personal sadness or a tragedy in her own life or in the writer's life, but she was expressing the sadness of existence."[2] The Art of Amália mixes rare film, television and concert footage from different periods of Rodrigues’ career. The film also presents a previously thought lost clip of a very rare appearance (billed only as “Amália”) on U.S. television in 1953, where she performed her hit song Coimbra (better known to U.S. audiences in the English-language version April in Portugal).[1]

The Art of Amália also includes the last filmed interview by Rodrigues, who died one week before production was completed.

The film had its U.S. premiere in March 2000 at a United Nations benefit, and its theatrical premiere in New York in December 2000. The DVD is now available to the public.

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