U-CARMEN is a feature film based on Georges Bizet's 19th-century opera that was filmed on location in a modern South African township setting. The energy, compassion, and heat of township life in all its elements create a constantly visually interesting and dynamic background for the unfolding of the story, which owes part of its huge popularity to the thrilling combination of a violent gangster tale with a passionate, almost supernatural love story. As it unfolds, it explores issues of fame and wealth, the position of a strong and independently minded woman in a very masculine society and, perhaps most importantly, the incomprehensible attraction between abuser and victim. Bizet's opera, based on Prosper Merimée's novel, premiered in Paris on March 3, 1875. Set in a poor area of Seville, the story of the magnetic woman who seduces, loves, and ultimately destroys her lover and herself, is well known. Girl (Carmen) seduces boy (Don José), boy becomes completely obsessed, girl leaves ... Written by
KOCH Lorber Films
Call me a softy, or sentimental, but merging two ancient traditions to see it not only work but enforce each other is nothing short of a miracle. I think it's a victory for the human experience to discover that boundaries are artificial and should be disposed of. I think the clinking and clonking of the stairs and the passing trains during the final scene are plea for honesty and integrity in contemporary cinema. It also shows how stuck up we are in today's operatic environment. The ability to suggest leniency towards what is real in this movie is absolutely brilliant. Watching a movie like this one gives me hope that there are still people out there who believe movie making is a form of expression of what we believe freedom should feel like. Another encouraging element is the sense of community that this movie is exhaling without romanticizing the life of the poor; they're proud of their community, they're proud of their traditions and they love to show it (although no animals were harmed). The only problem I have is that I will never be able to see Carmen, the opera, in the traditional way again. On the other hand, think of the possibilities, Hamlet in the rain forest, Ibsen in Tehran, Brecht in Mumbai - thinks are looking up in the world.
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