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Thread: U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha (2005) (South Africa)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha (2005) (South Africa)

    I am not sure if I have posted this ...

    anyway, here is a revised version ...

    Director: Mark Dornford-May
    Cast: Pauline Malefane, Andile Tshoni


    It garnered the Best Film in Berlin Film Festival 2005

    The official site
    see
    http://www.u-carmen.com/


    As requested, I have rewritten my review ...
    ;)


    Synopsis
    The story (as well as the songs) parallels Bizet's opera "Carmen", except that it is set in Khayelitsha of Cape Town, and sung in Xhosa. The female protagonist, Carmen, worked in a cigarette factory, with her Don Josť being a policeman. While others were supposedly crazy over her, she was only determined to seduce this policeman who showed little interest in her initially, but instead concentrated on reading his bible ... The story proceeds on with plots revolving around love, betrayal, and revenge ...


    Some thoughts

    -- Anyone who watches the film will not deny the powerful singing by the female lead, Pauline Malefane. Not only is this new rendition very well performed, it also has an African flavor ... The rest of the cast (by the theatre company, Dimpho Di Kopane lyric theatre company) and singing should also be credited ...

    -- Another thing that most audience will remember is likely the beginning scene, whereby the director focuses on the female protagonist's utterly expressionless face ... and keeps zooming in ... with interesting voice over about what beauty is ... and several interesting lines ... hmmm, with all the justifications, i think the director is also trying to buy over any audience who may not believe/understand why many people are supposed to fall in love with this female lead ... at the end of zooming in, it is interesting where the director takes one, as you will realize/remark, "hey, it makes sense for her not to move" ... ha ha, i won't give that away ... in summary, the opening sequences are particularly strong ...

    -- Hmmm, the take is also interesting because it looks more real than choreographed Hollywood or Broadway musicals ... with well synchronized dancing/singing/acting/costumes etc ... This film seems closer to "normal life" (except people keep singing) ... hee hee

    -- In terms of casting, the main actress does a good job, with more credits to her singing ... although her acting makes the film feel down to earth and believable, she carries her role rather differently from what many might have gotten accustomed to ... i.e., a more proactive and seductive/sensuous Italian version ... Forgive me, but I think the casting/acting of the male lead was not compelling ... this leads to my next point ...


    What could be better ...

    -- As the essence of the film is about love and betrayal, I thought there was little chemistry or even sparks between the two main protagonists ... i wonder if the audience would really be convinced by their relationship and really understand why she is so attracted to him ... or the bond (if any) between the two ... sorry ...


    Conclusion
    Recommended.
    Go for the singing ... and to some extent, the new African "take" ... which does not have too much of Hollywood's or Broadway's "choreography" ... hee hee
    ;)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4,668
    No US distribution so far, only festival screenings, under the title Carmen in Khayelitsha. Maybe if Tsotsi performs well at the b.o. someone will pick it up. Any Carmen with "little chemistry or sparks between the two main protagonists" (hengcs) is a failure though.

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