December 17, 2007
Lola, La Película, 2007
In the opening sequence of Lola, La Película, young Lola Flores, the daughter of a tavern owner from Jerez, convinces a gypsy flamenco teacher to take her in as a student by performing a lively interpretation of the dance, incorporating an assortment of freestyle twists and turns that causes him to ask her at the conclusion of her routine where she had learned such unorthodox movements, to which she responds that they were made up as she went along, doing as she pleased. In a sense, her willful determination and willingness to flout conventions for the sake of personal expression encapsulates Flores's outlook towards life as well in Miguel Hermoso's reverent, yet unsentimental and well-rendered portrait of the legendary screen and stage artist. Chronicling Flores's career evolution from her public debut at the age of thirteen as an intermission act for a variety show headlined by popular flamenco singer, Manolo Caracol (José Luis García Pérez), to her early vocation as a struggling bailaora for a traveling variety show in the north of Spain during the early days of the Franco regime (an austerity similarly captured in Carlos Saura's ¡Ay Carmela!), to her long-running success in a collaborative musical revue with Caracol, to her South American tour that launched her international career as a film actress and performer, Hermoso captures the trajectory of Flores's career through the sacrifices and personal disappointments encountered along the way in her quest for fame and artistic recognition. Hermoso's demythologized approach to Flores's biography is perhaps best illustrated in rumba guitarist, El Pescaílla's (Alfonso Begara) repeatedly derailed courtship of Flores (played as an adult by Gala Évora), insightfully framing her artistic accomplishments as everyday milestones in an all too human search for unconditional love and acceptance.