IMDb > U-Carmen eKhayelitsha (2005)
U-Carmen eKhayelitsha
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U-Carmen eKhayelitsha (2005) More at IMDbPro »


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6.7/10   542 votes »
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Release Date:
1 April 2005 (Greece) See more »
A version of Georges Bizet's Carmen, set in a modern-day South African township. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Disastrously wrong-headed adaptation See more (12 total) »


  (in credits order)
Pauline Malefane ... Carmen
Andile Tshoni ... Jongikhaya
Lungelwa Blou ... Nomakhaya
Zweilungile Sidloyi ... Lulamile Nkomo (as Zorro Sidloyi)
Andries Mbali ... Bra Nkomo
Zamile Gantana ... Captain Gantana
Andiswa Kedama ... Amanda
Ruby Mthethwa ... Pinki
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ross Garland ... Policeman
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Directed by
Mark Dornford-May 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Mark Dornford-May 
Ludovic Halévy  opera libretto "Carmen"
Andiswa Kedama 
Pauline Malefane 
Henri Meilhac  opera libretto "Carmen"
Prosper Mérimée  novella (uncredited)

Produced by
Mark Dornford-May .... producer
Lucinda Englehart .... associate producer
Ross Garland .... executive producer
Ross Garland .... producer
Niki Hall-Jones .... line producer
Tanya Wagner .... associate producer
Cinematography by
Giulio Biccari 
Film Editing by
Ronelle Loots 
Production Design by
Craig Smith 
Costume Design by
Jessica Dornford-May 
Makeup Department
Jack Dagogo .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Randy Crabb .... production manager
Nicci Van Niekerk .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Claire Letoret .... first assistant director
Trish Wylie .... second assistant director
Art Department
Henry Louw .... property master
Sound Department
Carmen Borgia .... sound re-recording mixer
Barry Donnelly .... dialogue editor
Barry Donnelly .... sound designer
Barry Donnelly .... sound editor
Barry Donnelly .... sound effects editor
Simon Rice .... sound mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Sarel Eloff .... additional cinematographer
Kenny Fisher .... chief lighting technician
Guy Hodgen .... first assistant camera
Justin Youens .... camera operator: "b" camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Leonie Roberts .... wardrobe supervisor
Editorial Department
Nerissa Black .... post-production coordinator
Catherine Pantazopoulos .... colorist
Jonene van Zyl .... post-production coordinator
Music Department
Charles Hazlewood .... conductor
Transportation Department
Peter Ndifon .... unit transport manager
Other crew
Ozren K. Glaser .... production coordinator
Sharifa Ismail .... accountant
Joel Mthethwa .... choreographer
Rob Muir .... title designer: opening titles
J.C. Smuts .... production coordinator
Neil Stuart .... title designer
Ria Van Heerden .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"U-Carmen" - South Africa (English title) (DVD title)
See more »
Germany:120 min | USA:122 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Germany:12 | Ireland:PG | Netherlands:12 | Singapore:PG | Switzerland:10 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:10 (canton of Vaud)

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Version of First Name: Carmen (1983)See more »
CarmenSee more »


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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Disastrously wrong-headed adaptation, 8 August 2011
Author: lor_ from New York, New York

The art of adaptation is difficult, yet there are many fans out there who go beyond giving the benefit of the doubt and actually embrace any old mindless desecration of a great text. To those souls I recommend the idiotic Ethan Hawke/Michael Almereyda HAMLET, or this South African travesty.

Film festivals have become an inverse barometer of quality in recent decades -beware like the plague any Cannes prize winner! U-CARMEN took the Golden Bear at Berlin, obviously impressing some afraid-to-be-considered-out-of-date jurors. But wait, the award-winning director from Blighty Mark Dornford-May's has gone on to win awards for a similar adaptation of Mozart's THE MAGIC FLUTE. Ouch!

I will merely chronicle the most major mistakes that sunk this project -a full discussion would take far longer than IMDb's 1000-word-limit. Firstly, retaining Bizet's music but electing to use the Xhosa local language (instead of French, or even Spanish) was more than foolhardy. It reflects an inverted prejudice that haunts Black filmmakers, let alone poor Mark. Great opera singers from South Africa, or anywhere else, have to learn to sing (and act) in German, Italian and French for starters. Setting the story in contemporary townships of South Africa is okay, but the actors should have sung in French, period. It's no longer Carmen in this form.

Choreography: I was frankly shocked to watch the mainly overweight (this is of course a plus-size Carmen) protagonists shuffling along in what purported to be the dance numbers. To all the revisionists who found this version superior to Saura's classic flamenco interpretation, what have you been smoking? The dancing here is embarrassingly bad, not even up to amateur, backyard movie levels.

Cinematography: As with practically every video or movie made today, the picture is presented in a widescreen format. But the compositions are puerile -looks like a TV show stretched to resemble band aids. One shot of an actress singing while a guy's crotch framed her randomly in the background was enough for me to tune out visually.

Casting: Director Mark cast his wife, Pauline Malefane, as Carmen and also starred her in his next & only feature, too. She is completely inexpressive, not acting at all, which would be bad enough for an actual opera (opera singers have to learn how to act, too) but for a film is ridiculous. To add that she is physically ill-suited for the role would be piling on, but I felt that way too.

Reinterpretation: I let them have the switch to post-Aparheid South Africa gimmick. I was willing to go along with an all-Black cast -no Voortrekkers need apply. But changing the opera's military aspect to cops is utterly stupid. In South Africa, U.S., or even Iraq, the distinction between the military and the police is significant -you can't make them synonymous for dramatic purposes. The various chubby cops here, several of whom displayed quality singing voices, play cops not soldiers and it self-destructs the narrative. Or to put it another way, I wouldn't want to sit through a CARMEN episode of that old TV series "Cop Rock".

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