There's an aphorism about translations that says that translations are like women--if they are beautiful they aren't faithful, and if they are faithful they aren't beautiful. This may not be a literal version of the familiar Carmen, but it is beautifully true to the spirit of the original. It is also unlike anything you've ever seen.
The acting and cinematography are splendid. The score honors Bizet in its tonality without ever quoting the opera. Djeïnaba Diop Gaï's Karmen is a shooting star. The original Carmen's transgressive sexuality, freely flaunted in a way that spills outrageously beyond societal rules, translates here into bisexuality. Other themes are also aptly and satisfyingly transmuted--the smugglers are hauling dope; her toreador is a musical star.
It's rare for me to want to watch a movie twice in a row. The first thing I did after seeing this was look up when it would be shown again.
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