6.5/10
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20 user 34 critic

First Name: Carmen (1983)

Prénom Carmen (original title)
A woman involved with a terrorist group becomes dangerously close to the police officer guarding the bank they plan to rob.

Director:

Jean-Luc Godard

Writers:

Anne-Marie Miéville (scenario), Anne-Marie Miéville (adaptation)
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maruschka Detmers ... Carmen X
Jacques Bonnaffé ... Joseph / Bank Guard
Myriem Roussel ... Claire
Christophe Odent ... Le chef / Leader
Pierre-Alain Chapuis Pierre-Alain Chapuis
Bertrand Liebert Bertrand Liebert ... Le garde du corps / The bodyguard
Alain Bastien-Thiry Alain Bastien-Thiry ... Le valet du grand hôtel / The valet of the big hotel (as Alain Bastien)
Hippolyte Girardot ... Fred (as Hyppolite Girardot)
Odile Roire Odile Roire
Valérie Dréville Valérie Dréville ... La nourrice / Wet nurse
Christine Pignet Christine Pignet ... Femme de la bande à Joseph
Jean-Michel Denis Jean-Michel Denis
Jacques Villeret ... L'homme qui mange du yaourt / The man who eats yogurt
Jacques Prat Jacques Prat ... Violon (as Quatuor Prat)
Laurent Dangalec Laurent Dangalec ... Violon (as Quatuor Prat)
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Storyline

Carmen is a member of a terrorist gang who falls in love with a young police officer guarding a bank that she and her cohorts try to rob. She leads him on while dragging the two of them closer to their ultimate doom. Jean-Luc Godard intercuts the film with shots of a string quartet practicing Beethoven, and his main protagonist, Carmen, is played by Maruschka Detmers creating a stunning effect in many scenes of extended nudity. Written by Raimundo Ramirez <raimundo@kheldar.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

11 January 1984 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

First Name: Carmen See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the shoot-out at the Café de la Paix (the luxurious restaurant of the Grand Hotel Intercontinental), an undisturbed man is reading a large book, holding it so that the cover is shown prominently, several times: 'Nouveau Guide des Paradis Fiscaux', published in 1982, and written by a specialist on Swiss banking. Godard's tongue-in-cheek political comment (in a French-Swiss co-production) may escape some viewers, though. See more »

Quotes

Joseph Bonnaffé: Loneliness forced me to be my own best friend.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In memoriam small movies See more »

Connections

Version of Carmen (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

String Quartet n. 10 op. 74
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Quatuor Prat
See more »

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User Reviews

My ninth Godard..
19 February 2011 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

Prenom Carmen is possibly the most accessible Godard I've seen in my quest so far. What this means, is that at least partially the traditional devices of cinema, story, characters, a turn of events, are accepted or tolerated at some face value. Characters are allowed to behave like they're in a movie without having to look back at the camera to note its presence. He puts something on the table for others, for the casual watcher, as though coming out of a decade of isolation he yearns for some company, for a theater where he's not sitting alone with his thoughts on the screen.

This desire to be open does not mean, of course, that Godard forsakes his idiosynchracy, the habitual criticizing. He plays himself in the film, the half-mad middle aged crank director chomping on his cigar like a Sam Fuller, at some point he says that "Mao was the best chef, he fed all of China", but that's almost a bad joke or an afterthought (bitterly ironic considering the hundreds of thousands Mao starved to death in that effort to feed them), and I get the impression from Prenom Carmen of an attempt to ruminate on the transience of life and time, the beauty of nature. These moments of quiet beauty, the shots of waves crashing on a beach, an evening sky with an early moon, night trains passing each other on the rails, show the desire of the director to reflect at a kind of peace.

The commitment is not total though, because Godard still clings to outside conditions, he still feels the need to comment politically, but that's only when he himself comes on screen. What used to be an object of serious consideration though, is now relegated to a quirk, to a caricaturist's signature. As such, I read it as a sign of disillusionment, like Godard partly views himself as the crony pariah of cinema he portrays in the film, pushed to the side, babbling and ranting to himself.

The film about a film device is put to rather average use, it's an opportunity to set up a heist plot then pushed to the side again. What intrigues me a lot here is the overlapping timeline. As the bank heist erupts in gunshots, the film cuts to a string quartet rehearsing Mozart, they stop and one of the players asks the girl to play with more violence. Later we see the same girl peering up close to the tablature to see is there something to be deciphered in the notes, doing that she mutters to herself a question about the clouds and "will they part to reveal torrents of life".

A central tenet in the film is something about the innocent and the guilty and how they're on opposite corners, but the suggestion on injustice is only vague, a sketch without backbone. Other quotations are banal or obvious, but the difference for me from his New Wave days, is that irreverence is no longer an aspiration. It's a source of humor, but there's an effort to reach out for the poetic. Godard playing himself in the film says at some point that we need to close our eyes, not open them, but I believe he's beginning here to open himself up to something more than interpreting or criticizing, to the possibility of seeing the world. From my little investigation, I'm looking forward to see if he carried that over to films like Nouvelle Vague and Helas pour Moi.


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