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Evita Movie Review

eva awards alan parker

1996 – Alan Parker –

Few people outside politics knew much about the life and death of Eva Peron until she burst onto the world's musical stages in the early 1980's in Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical Evita. But hers is a life so melodramatic, so filled with “Rainbow Highs” and degrading lows that, if she had not lived, some writer would have had to invent her. On one level, Eva's story (as she sings) is quite usual: young bastard child seeks new future in the big city of Buenos Aires, finds powerful men friends to sleep with her and promote her, marries a military man/politician who rises to the top and takes her with him, and dies tragically of cancer when she is 33.

On another level, however, is a more complex story of Eva Peron. Who was she, really? The saint whose foundation built hundreds of schools, hospitals, and housing developments for the poor of her country? The swindler who used millions of dollars of volunteer contributions to dress and bejewel herself and her cronies? The simple woman who understood the needs of her people and helped translate them to her powerful husband? The manipulator who tried to grab as much personal power as she could? The movie does a fine job of presenting the complex personality of Eva. The viewer both loves and hates her, sympathizes and condemns her. And the exquisite location shooting and detail enliven the film.

Antonio Banderas, who can sing as well as act, presents a much stronger Che than in the stage version of the musical. This character is not the legendary guerilla (who didn't figure in Argentine history, anyway); he is the outside observer—waiter, journalist, citizen, patriot—hoping for the best from Evita and her regime, but smart and cynical enough to see the fraud behind the surface. Finally, he speaks (or sings) for all of us; when we dare to hope for too much from frail human leaders, we will be disappointed, and “It's our funeral, too.”

Songs: “A Cinema in Buenos Aires,” “Requiem for Evita,” “Oh What a Circus,” “On This Night of a Thousand Stars,” “Eva and Magadi,” “Eva Beware of the City,” “Buenos Aires,” “Another Suitcase in Another Hall,” “Goodnight and Thank You,” “The Lady's Got Potential,” “Charity Concert,” “The Art of the Possible,” “I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You,” “Hello and Goodbye,” “Peron's Latest Flame,” “A New Argentina,” “On the Balcony of the Casa Rosada,” “Don't Cry For Me Argentina,” “High Flying, Adored,” “Rainbow High,” “Rainbow Tour,” “The Actress Hasn't Learned the Lines,” “And the Money Kept Rolling In,” “Partido Feminista,” “She is a Diamond,” “Santa Evita,” “Waltz for Eva and Che,” “Your Little Body's Slowly Breaking Down,” “You Must Love Me” and “Lament.”

Cast: Madonna (Eva Peron), Antonio Banderas (Che), Jonathan Pryce (Juan Peron), Jimmy Nail (Augustin Magaldi), Victoria Sus (Dona Juana), Julian Littman (Brother Juan), Olga Menediz (Blanca), Laura Pallas (Elisea), Julia Worsley (Erminda), Maria Lujan Hidalgo (Young Eva), Andrea Corr (Peron's Young Mistress), Gabriel Kraisman (Cinema Manager), Alan Parker (Tormented Film Director), Eva Vari (Senora Magaldi), Luis Boccia (Senor Jabon) Screenwriter: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Alan Parker, Oliver Stone Cinematographer: Darius Khondji Composer: Andrew Lloyd Webber Producer: Alan Parker, Robert Stigwood, and Andrew Vajna for Cinergi and Dirty Hands Productions; released by Hollywood Pictures Running Time: 134 minutes Format: VHS, LV Awards: Academy Awards, 1997: Music, Song (“You Must Love Me”); Nominations: Art Direction/Set Decoration, Cinematography, Editing, Sound; Golden Globe Awards, 1997: Actress—Musical/Comedy (Madonna), Film—Comedy/Musical, Song (“You Must Love Me”); Nominations: Actor—Musical/Comedy (Antonio Banderas); Director (Alan Parker); British Academy Awards, 1996: Adapted Screenplay; MTV Movie Awards, 1997: Nominations: Female Performance (Madonna), Song (“Don't Cry for Me, Argentina”) Box Office: $23M.

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