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Film / El amor brujo

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El amor brujo (aka "Bewitched Love") is a 1967 film from Spain directed by Francisco Rovira Beleta.

It is an adaptation of the famous Spanish ballet El amor brujo, although it makes some major revisions to the ballet's plot. The protagonist is Candela, a young woman who lives in the coastal town of Cadiz and helps her father, who is a fisherman. In the backstory, Candela was the lover of a dangerous hoodlum named Diego. However, at the beginning of the film Diego is killed in a knife fight with another hoodlum on the beach. Candela finds herself well rid of the violent, abusive Diego, instead dating a much more suitable Nice Guy named Antonio.

The only problem is, Diego seems to be haunting her. She keeps having nightmares of finding his dead body on the beach, his face mashed in post-mortem. She starts hearing his voice calling to her. She begins to see him at various places around town. Then she sees his face at the window...

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In 1986 another adaptation of the ballet, also titled El amor brujo, was released.


Tropes

  • As You Know: The Reveal that Diego is alive is shortly followed by some As You Know dialogue between Diego and Lorenzo as Diego tells Lorenzo stuff Lorenzo already knows about how Diego faked his death.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: In 1967 Spain cockfighting was no big deal, as the film shows two roosters fighting as background detail, while Antonio is quizzing people about the manner of Diego's death.
  • Binocular Shot: How we find out that Diego's alive. A Binocular Shot view of Candela dancing on the beach (one where she looks particularly fetching when she hikes her skirt up to keep it dry) is revealed to be from Diego's POV, as he hides out in Soledad's little beach house.
  • Bookends: The opening scene has a knife-wielding man chasing Diego through the streets before finally cornering him and seemingly stabbing him by a cross on the beach. In the last scene a bunch of people chase Diego through the streets, corner him on the beach, and stab him by the cross for real.
  • Catapult Nightmare:
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    • The opening scene, of Diego's murder, is a catapult nightmare in which Candela catapults up after seeing his mangled, unrecognizable face.
    • A second nightmare, in which Candela dreams of dancing with Diego on the roof and then being chased by a horde of Diegos in masks, also ends with her catapulting up. But in this case it's subverted to some degree as she was catapulted awake by the sound of someone trying to force open her bedroom window with a knife.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The opening scene is Candela's Catapult Nightmare which shows Diego lying dead on the beach, his face horribly mangled. It's later revealed that Diego was Faking the Dead and he mangled the dead guy's face as part of his plan.
  • Faking the Dead: Diego isn't dead after all, and he won that opening knife fight. He threw off the family which was looking for revenge (Diego killed one of their men) by killing the man in the opening scene, exchanging clothes with him, and then mashing the man's face in until it was unrecognizable.
  • The Film of the Play: One which changes a lot from the ballet. In the ballet, Diego really is dead, and his ghost is haunting Candela. In this movie, Diego is Faking the Dead. In the film, Diego was married to Candela and cheated on her with a woman named Lucia. In the film, Lucia sort of pops up in the third act with little explanation, trying to prevent Diego's flight with Candela.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls:
    • A church bell is tolling 3 am as Diego is being chased by a knife-wielding man in the opening scene.
    • That church bell is tolling again at the end, when the family of the man Diego killed have finally cornered him in the streets.
  • Info Dump: Candela goes to a fortune-teller in a scene that doesn't add much to the plot (especially since the mystical elements of the ballet were adapted out of this film), but does provide some exposition as Candela tells the fortune teller and the audience of what happened with her lover Diego.
  • Neutral Female: Candela has a habit of standing to the side and yelling "No!" when Antonio is fighting Diego, like at the hacienda party where Diego is clubbing Antonio with a piece of wood and trying to roast his face in the bonfire, or at the knife fight at the end.
  • Satellite Character: When Diego is hiding out he is in the company of an attractive woman named Soledad. Soledad is basically Diego's Love Martyr, worshipping him and offering to serve him, begging him not to leave her for Candela, while he treats her like garbage. The only thing is that she has virtually no impact on the story and the plot would hardly be changed if her character were removed.
  • Toros y Flamenco: It seems that the Romani of Cádiz flamenco whenever they have an idle moment.
  • Vehicle Vanish: Diego appears at the dockyards while Candela is mending fishing nets. A train passes, and when the steam wafts away, he is gone.
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: As Candela is visiting Diego's grave, she's led his spirit by the green dancing lights of will-of-the-wisp.
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