Helmer Saura sways to ‘Fados’

Pic will mix musical perfs, archive footage, fictional story

Having taken on flamenco (“Sevillanas”) and the tango (“Tango”), Carlos Saura will attack a third great melancholy music style, directing “Fados,” a celebration of Portugal’s classic, lamenting acoustic folk songs.

Portugal’s twice Oscar-nominated d.p. Eduardo Serra (“Girl With a Pearl Earring,” “The Wings of the Dove”) will handle cinematography.

Set against a re-creation of Lisbon’s “Fados Nights” talent competition, the film will combine fado performances from top artists, a fictionalized story line, dance and archive footage.

In the song centerpieces, artists will deliver contempo versions of fado classics. Fadistas being lined up by the pics producers include young femme star Maritza and male performer Camane.

The fado performances will be co-coordinated by singer Carlos Do Carmo.

Co-producer Antonio Saura told Variety at Cannes that the film will open up more to exteriors than “Flamenco” or “Tango,” moving about Lisbon.

In a relatively rare Portugal-Spain linkup, “Fados” will be produced by Portuguese director-producer Luis Galvao Teles’ Lisbon-based banner Fado Filmes and Madrid’s Zebra Producciones, headed by Carlos Saura’s son, Antonio Saura.

Galvao Teles will take a majority stake in the pic, which will be framed as a Portugal-Spain-Brazil co-production.

Backed by multiple Portuguese institutions, including the Portuguese ICAM film institute and Portugal’s tourist board, “Fados” will form a flagship project at a Lisbon powwow between Portuguese and Spanish filmmakers, to run June 7-8.

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