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Film / Los Tarantos

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Los Tarantos is a 1963 film from Spain, directed by Francisco Rovira Beleta.

It is a Spanish take on Romeo and Juliet, set in Barcelona. The rival clans are the Zorongas and the Tarantos. Rafael Taranto, the Romeo, goes to a wedding and is enchanted by Juana Zoronga, the Juliet. They fall in love immediately. Rafael introduces Juana to his mother, Angustinas (Carmen Amaya). She is initially horrified but quickly comes around.

Juana's father Rosendo Zoronga, however, absolutely refuses to permit the marriage. Determined to head Rafael off, he promises Juana to the groom of his stables, one Curro (a combination of Paris and Tybalt from the play). A confrontation between Rafael, Curro, and Rafael's buddy Moji (the Mercutio) gets Moji killed, and soon more tragedy follows.

There's also flamenco dancing. Lots and lots of flamenco dancing. Apparently folks dance the flamenco at funerals.

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Last film appearance of Carmen Amaya, a world-famous flamenco dancer, who died of kidney disease just two weeks after this film was released.


Tropes:

  • And Starring: Antonio Gades, who plays Moji, gets a "With the participation of" credit after all the other actors.
  • The Bard on Board: Romeo and Juliet. It hits most of the major plot points—the boy and girl meet at a party and instantly fall madly in love. They get married in secret, but there's a confrontation where the boy's friend is killed in a fight when the boy tries to hold him back. The main differences are collapsing Paris (Juliet's intended) and Tybalt (the hothead who kills Mercutio) into one character, Curro, and changing the ending. Namely, instead of the whole faking-your-death scheme Juliet cooks up, Curro kills both Rafael and Juana but is then killed by Rafael's brother.
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  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Rosendo says "I'd rather see my daughter in a coffin than married to a Taranto." Well...
  • Blackmail: When Rosendo tries to back out on giving his daughter to Curro, Curro's family, the Picados, remind Rosendo that they know a secret. Namely, they're the ones who killed Rafael's father, on Rosendo's orders.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Rafael is seen keeping pigeons on the roof. Later, he has one sent to Juana so she can send a message back.
  • Composite Character: Curro is a combination of Paris (intended for Juliet by Arranged Marriage) and Tybalt (the psycho who provokes the confrontation that gets Mercutio killed and makes everything worse).
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: There are Christmas decorations around, lights on trees and posters of Santa in restaurants, but it's not important to the story.
  • The Dying Walk: Just like Mercutio in so many productions of Romeo and Juliet, Moji takes a dying walk. Stabbed in the gut by Curro, he staggers to the front door of the restaurant and waves goodbye to the departing American ladies, before crumpling to the ground.
  • Feuding Families: Unlike Shakespeare this film gives a reason why the families are feuding. It seems that long ago Rosendo asked Angustinas to marry him, he lost out to a man of the Taranto clan, and Rosendo, who is a rich guy, eventually had her husband killed.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Rafael and Juana exchange looks at the wedding, they're dashing off to the beach together, and within minutes they're pledging eternal love.
  • Instant Messenger Pigeon: Played realistically, with a homing pigeon as a one-way communication device. Rafael has to deliver one of his pigeons to Juana, so she can later put a message on it and let it fly back.
  • A Round of Drinks for the House: The Tarantos order drinks for everyone left at a restaurant after they chase out Curro and the Zorongas.
  • Shed the Family Name: After Curro, the man her father gave her to, gives her a beating, Juana says "I renounce my name!" She also quite accurately says that the men of her family aren't real men.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: They're imitating the Trope Namers, after all. Rafael and Juana are kept apart by her father and eventually killed by the creep that her father wanted her to marry.
  • A Storm Is Coming: It's starting to rain, so Curro says "Looks like a storm is coming" right after picking the confrontation that ends up getting Moji killed.
  • Title Drop: Zoronga refuses categorically to let his daughter date one of "Los Tarantos".
  • Together in Death: Angustinas and Rosendo find the corpses of their children lying together, after Curro killed them.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Curro is a brute who regularly beats his girlfriend. Later he beats Juana with a belt when she tries to escape.
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