LA CHANA — Review by Jennifer Merin

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la chana posterCapturing all of the passion and personal expression that permeates flamenco and illuminates the dance form’s most engaging performers, Lucija Stojevic’s La Chana profiles the career and artistry of Antonia Santiago Amador, the hugely popular flamenco goddess revered by dance afficiandos for her force of nature spirit and extraordinary footwork. The great La Chana’s career peaked during the late 1960s, just before she inexplicably shunned her celebrity and mysteriously vanished from the dance world. Continue reading…

With her intimate interview style, Barcelone-based filmmaker Stojevic delves into Amador’s complex personality and her complex relationahip with men in her personal and professional life. The character revelations gleaned in the up close and personal interviews are always punctuated with spectacular footage of emotional performances that are quite opposite in tone to La Chana’s current, very quiet and somewhat solitary life in Barcelona. She now focuses her attention on talented young female flamenco dancers, generously coaching them to greatness.

The film’s biggest reveal is that La Chana, now elderly and actually confined to dancing while sitting down, is preparing for her comeback. a performance that will entice friends and fans from around the globe to see her once again on stage. The film treats us to a preview of her still awesome footwork — and it is an absolutely amazing.

Amador’s life story and the way in which the dancer is profiled are expressions of feminist determination and accomplishment. La Chana was nominated for an AWFJ EDA Award at IDFA, where the film premiered in November 2016. It has played the festival circuit and is now being released in the USA, with a premiere theatrical engagement in April, which includes a live performance by the one and only La Chana. For its artistry and as a source of inspiration, La Chana is a must-see.

Read AWFJ’s interview with La Chana director Lucija Stojevic on THE FEMALE GAZE

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).