Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Paz Vega, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Antonio Dechent, Joan Crosas, Jay Benedict
Director: Vicente Aranda
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Genre: Feature Film-Drama Rating: UN Release Date: 5-AUG-2008 Media Type: DVD
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The Original 'Carmen' Realized
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even for the non-opera loving public the name CARMEN is immediately recognized as an opera by Bizet about a gypsy girl whose capricious loves destroy men. But as much as the opera is now considered a staple in every opera house repertoire, the real story of the wild gypsy lass as created by Prosper Mérimée in 1845 has never been told as well as in this cinematic version by the abundantly gifted Spanish director Vicente Aranda ('Juana la Loca AKA Mad Love','Amantes', 'If they tell you I fell', etc.). Incorporating the author of the novel as a main character seeking the story of Carmen from one of her lovers - José - provides just the right vantage for the story of this famous gypsy wild lady to be told.
Carmen (the amazingly beautiful and talented Paz Vega) works in a cigar factory in Seville, a factory adjoining the military station where the very proper José (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is stationed. Carmen is tempestuous and in a fight instigated by a fellow factory worker bringing attention to the fact that Carmen is a gypsy, Carmen murders the co-worker and is arrested. José is physically attracted to the voluptuous Carmen and when Carmen flirts with him he consents to allow her to escape - his payback is the promise for a night of passion with Carmen. Carmen keeps her pact, providing José with his first sexual encounter, and José is doomed. His lack of military discipline results in his losing his rank and being imprisoned for a while, but at his release José encounters Carmen again, kills a fellow officer, and in fear runs off to the hills to live with the smugglers and gypsies that are Carmen's people. Many incidents occur to try the passionate bond between the lovers, but when Carmen's real husband is released from prison, destructive behaviors take over, behavior's that include Carmen's infatuation and affair with a bullfighter and the passion of Carmen and José comes to a tragic end.
One factor that makes the story (as adapted for the screen by director Aranda and Joaquim Jordà move so well is the role that Prosper Mérimée (Jay Benedict) plays: his questioning of José completes the story that Bizet's opera only outlines. The acting is superb, the cinematography by Paco Femenia and the excellent musical score by José Nieto contribute enormously to the success of this very fine film. This is a must for lovers of the opera Carmen, and a splendid action drama for those viewers who admire historical pieces. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, September 08"
Steamy and dramatic
wiredweird | Earth, or somewhere nearby | 10/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
Paz Vega creates the steamiest Carmen ever in this gorgeous period drama. She brings the character to life. This isn't Bizet's Carmen, though. This one takes impulsiveness and fiery temper to extremes, and combines that volatile mix with a personality that seems to interact with others only to manipulate them. Then, with raw sensuality as her lure and reward, she brings out the same in men, not just poor José.
The settings come to life almost as much as the characters - that cavernous cigar factory at the start, the cities of nineteenth century Spain (but much older), and the rocky, raw wilds ruled by bandits. Award-winning costumes help too, including gaudy soldier's uniforms, and elaborate recreations of women's clothes, down to humble details like drawers.
Don't expect to like these characters. José's military honor implodes, leaving a shell of murderous jealousy. Carmen herself - kissing a viper seems safer. Not even the lush promise of her body makes that look like such a good deal. Nice people don't make good drama, and these are very dramatic. Recommended, but not for the skin-shy.
Carmen w/o the music w the Sex!
S. Cleal | Melbourne, Vic.,AU | 11/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film is an adaptation of the original story that the opera Carmen was based on. It has a great look ( very Goya in it's landscapes ) and it has an actress, Paz Vega, who is quite believeable as a woman who could make most fellows stray off the straight and narrow!!!
Well worth a look!"
Should read "based on Mérimeé's short story"
Alberto Machado | 08/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film is an almost line-by-line retelling of Prosper Mérimée's short story Carmen, which, decades later, became the source of Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy's libretto for Bizet's opera. The American DVD edition cover dutifully dumbs this down for our consumption: "based on Bizet's wildly popular opera".
So much for ignorant marketing! At least, we get an anamorphic transfer -the Spanish edition is woefully letterboxed!
Superb photography, beautiful actual locations, and Ms Vega, who is not at all shy about performing head-to-toe, full frontally and rearly **clothed** in more than one scene!
What an eyeful!"