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Evita ★★½ 1996 (PG)

Webber/Rice rock opera about the life and death of Eva Peron finally comes to the big screen with all its extravaganza intact. Madonna's in the title role (in fine voice, lavishly costumed but unflatteringly lit) about an ambitious poor girl willing to do anything to make her mark—in this version by sleeping her way up the ladder of power to Argentine strongman Juan Peron (Pryce as wax dummy). Evita becomes a would-be champion of the people, even as the government ruthlessly suppresses their freedoms. The surprisingly strong-voiced Banderas (perhaps his emphatic enunciation is to make his English as clear as possible) is everyman narrator Che (changed from the stage version's revolutionary Che Guevera). The highlight is still Madonna's balcony scene, singing “Don't Cry for Me, Argentina,” but some of the other songs are drowned by loud orchestration. Director Parker has a cameo as a frustrated film director trying to work with Evita. ♫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. 133m/C VHS, DVD . Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce, Jimmy Nail, Victoria Sus, Julian Littman, Olga Meediz, Laura Pallas, Julia Worsley; Cameos: Alan Parker; D: Alan Parker; W: Oliver Stone, Alan Parker; C: Darius Khondji; M: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice. Oscars '96: Song (“You Must Love Me”); Golden Globes '97: Actress—Mus./Comedy (Madonna), Film—Mus./Comedy, Song (“You Must Love Me”).

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