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   543 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:
Marvellous debut from a director who outshines established Directors Francesco Rosi and Carlos Suara 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

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

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 Carmen (la de Triana) (1938)See more »
CarmenSee more »


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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
Marvellous debut from a director who outshines established Directors Francesco Rosi and Carlos Suara, 17 December 2005
Author: Jugu Abraham ( from Trivandrum, Kerala, India

I had seen two of the most fascinating film versions of "Carmen" in the mid-Eighties: (a) Francesco Rosi's Italian version that won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA award with two of the most accomplished tenors (Placido Domingo and Ruggero Raimondi) playing leads roles that had spoken dialogs to punctuate the singing, and (b) Carlos Suara's Spanish version with flamingo dancers that won a Prize at Montreal film festival and a Bodil award for the Best European film. It was difficult to conceive that another production could be made to outshine either of these. Yet here was a South African director making a version of Carmen (his debut at that) in South Africa's tongue clicking Xhosa language capturing all the elements of accomplished filmmakers Rosi and Suara with a felicity of a veteran filmmaker to walk way with a Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival this year.

A bullfight in Cape Town shantytown suburbs? Director Mark Dornford-May suggests the bullfight with a single shot of a bull in a paddock, an actor holding a dagger, and the sound of an animal in pain—nothing else. Sex is suggested off-screen, never shown. The story and music of the Opera Carmen is retained religiously with local color thrown in: a Bible-reading police sergeant who had earlier killed his own brother and glibly lied to his own mother and police about the incident, women who taunt men in almost equal terms, and the singing talent of black South Africans. This was a major film at the just concluded Dubai International Film Festival.

There are two ways to enjoy the film: (a) Imbibe the variation of presenting the famous musical work in an unusual setting and (b) savor the film as a documentary of modern-day urban South Africa without the music/operatic songs. Either way you will have a treat. I have been to South Africa and what is shown is very close to reality.

The film belongs to the lead actress Pauline Melafane who exudes sensuality, without having to take off her clothes and is the epitome of the opening line: " ..for every fault she had a quality that came out from the contrast…" Her screen presence is incredible and outshines all Carmens on screen to date that I have seen. She is able to blend tragedy and cocky image of a college going student (forget that she is playing an illiterate shantytown dweller!).

Director Dornford-May achieves two objectives with this work: he proves Bizet's Carmen is universal not mere European and that opera can be well produced in obscure languages if there was a will and talent. Bizet would have been proud. The red (the primal color of bullfights) color comes to the fore only in the finale as the color worn by the women and the sheet covering the dead. To win a Golden Bear for a debut film is no mean achievement—more so when the experiment has been attempted by others in the past. The director injected realism in this film, not being limited to mere romance and gallantry—in fact Carmen's lover in this film is an anti-hero, a liar, and a modern-day Cain seeking forgiveness. Rosi and Suara need to take a back seat!

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