Wednesday 24 February at 7.30pm
Alan Parker│USA│1996│134 mins│PG violence
Hit musical based on the life of Eva Duarte (1919-1952), the actress who became the wife of Argentinian president Juan Perón – and the most beloved (and hated) woman in Argentina. Starring Madonna, Antonio Banderas & Jonathan Pryce.
““Evita” has more in common with an opera than it does a movie musical. Apart from a few words scattered here and there, no one has any dialogue that isn’t sung, rather than spoken. For film audiences, that’s unusual, and it places quite a burden on the librettist and the composer. But when you have workhorses like Tim Rice (“Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” etc.) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (“The Phantom of the Opera”) doing all the heavy lifting, it turns out to be not much of a problem. Webber’s music is hauntingly original and effective, while Rice’s lyrics manage to convey the information that’s missing without a standard narrative and scenic construction, while also incorporating a constant sense of interpretation. There’s humor in the lyrics, as well as wry commentary and irony. (…)
Banderas and Madonna, in the title role, are superb, but with “Evita” it mostly depends on whether a viewer can or will accept the operatic style of presentation. It’s certainly not the standard way of movie storytelling. It’s more fluid, lyrical, and impressionistic—like one enormous 135-minute montage. You get a pretty good sense of Evita’s lowly beginnings as a “bastard” whose father died when she was very young, and in her promiscuous search for a man to take her out of that sleepy little Argentinian village to the more exciting Buenos Aires. You follow her as she strives to become somebody—a model, an actress, a radio star—and you see her use men as they once used her. Payback, but also part of her grand plan to become one of Buenos Aires “Big Apples”—high society people of position and power. And, of course, you see how she goes from man to man and officer to officer, always ladder-climbing, until the last rung: Juan Perón. (…) The film takes a few liberties with the truth, preferring to rely on legend rather than historians’ versions of the Peróns. But director Alan Parker (“Mississippi Burning,” “The Commitments”) knowingly chooses to further the story of a folk hero, not to debunk it. And he handles the flow like an operatic pro.” – James Plath, Movie Metropolis