Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
‘La Chana’, the living legend of Spanish flamenco dancing, surveys the emotional rollercoaster of her tough life and remarkable career in a documentary that mixes highly personable interview footage with a lifetime’s worth of flat-out amazing performance clips. Has anybody else anywhere ever moved their feet with such speed, expression and passionate intensity?
“La Chana is an admiring, even adoring portrait of a strong-willed female performer rising above the restrictions of the patriarchal society into which she was born. In the case of La Chana – also known as Antonia Santiago Amador – this was the fiercely traditional gypsy society of Franco-era Spain, as personified by her brutally possessive [first] husband...
The shadowy husband turned down Hollywood offers and effectively forced La Chana into an early retirement, from which she emerged triumphantly via a 1977 TV special... In her late sixties at the time of filming, the dignified, dowager-like La Chana has mobility issues but is still very much a ‘force of nature’ . She retains just enough ‘strength, speed and soul’ – the crucial elements of flamenco – to be coaxed into one last show.”— Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter