10/20/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Koch Lorber presents
U-Carmen (2004)

"I ignore all the rules
Love's a stranger to me
If you don't want me then I'm yours
But if I want you, then be afraid"

- Carmen (Pauline Malefane)

Review By: Jeff Wilson  
Published: August 20, 2007

Stars: Paulene Malefane, Andile Tshoni, Lungelwa Blou, Zorro Sidloyi, Andries Mbali
Director: Mark Dornford-May

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for violence, language, adult themes
Run Time: 02h:07m:23s
Release Date: August 14, 2007
UPC: 741952311799
Genre: musical


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- BBB+ C+

DVD Review

Opera is always ripe for re-interpretation, and one of the more interesting productions is this South African adaptation of Bizet's ever popular Carmen. Transplanted from Spain to Cape Town and from French to Xhosa, the story retains most of its basic power, but fails to bring enough passion and sexual heat to the table to make it completely successful.

The story remains mostly the same; Carmen (Pauline Malefane) works in a cigarette factory, playing the hard to get seductress. Jongikhaya (Jose in the opera) is a local cop ensnared by Carmen. Their relationship progresses from initial passion to disillusionment, and finally murder. The role of Escamillo is minimized, here taken by Lulamile, a singer returning home. Jongi's character is fleshed out by making him an outcast from his home village, where he left in shame after the accidental death of his brother. His brother's widow, Nomakhaya (Jose's fiancee Micaela in the opera), tries to get him to come home and see his mother before she dies, but Carmen has bewitched him.

Where the film succeeds is in translating the setting to Khayelitsha, a township on the outskirts of Cape Town; filmed on location, it adds the gritty reality the story needs. The music is handled well also, excisions aside; the singers, considering their lack of previous performing background, acquit themselves very well. The move from French to Xhosa proves no issue, and the changes in the libretto to suit the setting aren't a problem. The film looks good, and first time director Dornford-May has done an excellent job making a film, rather than a filmed version of a stage production.

Where the film stumbled for me was in the central performances, as Malefane and Tshoni have no real chemistry together, and buying any kind of relationship between them stretches the believability, even for opera, too far. It's also hard to accept Carmen as the object of so much lust; this may simply be a case of differing standards of beauty, but an unattractive woman does become more attractive because she thinks she's attractive. This is in part a question of personality; this Carmen is intended to have some vulnerability, at least according to comments in the extras, but she comes off as a bitchy, nasty woman with few redeeming qualities. Jongi is a much better character, but his weakness makes him difficult to feel sorry for, though I wasn't sorry to see him shank Carmen at the end.

Despite my misgivings, I did enjoy the film, as it provides a new spin on a warhorse of the repertoire, and does so in a fascinating fashion. This is the kind of film that will be way below most people's radar, so if you have any interest in opera, definitely give it a look.



Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Presented in anamorphic 1.85:1, the picture is fine if unexceptional; night scenes sometimes show some unappealing noisiness, but otherwise there's not much to complain about. The subtitles are large, yellow, and free of glaring errors.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Xhosano


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 2.0 mix presents the music well, with a clean, bright mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Interviews with Mark Dornford-May, Pauline Malefane, and Andiswa Kedama
Extras Review: A brief making of (07m:12s) has interviews with several of the actors and staff, giving a general overview of the film and its genesis. It would have been nice to see some footage of the original stage production, but no dice. Some of the material is duplicated in the interviews section, which has short interviews with director Dornford-May (05m:23s), Kalemane (06m:06s), and translator/actress Andiswa Kedame (04m:33s). Brief, but interesting enough. The U.S. theatrical trailer ties things up.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

At first, U-Carmen might seem unusual, but its translation of Bizet's beloved opera into a South African setting works very well, and the Dimpho Di Kopane theater company acquits itself well in their first film appearance.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store