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U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha Reviews

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Prairie Miller
WBAI Web Radio

Central to an expression of new female South African pride, is the lovely Pauline Malefane as Carmen, whose astonishing vocal power embodies both feminine grace and charm, along with bold, militant proletarian fire.

Full Review

August 11, 2007
Anton Bitel

Carmen finds a new home in a South African shantytown, lending the nation her powerful voice for the new freedoms of the post-apartheid era.

Full Review Source: Film4

June 15, 2007
Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide's Movie Guide

[Director] Dornford-May's straightforward filmmaking neither glamorizes Khayelitsha and its residents nor plays up the contrast between the silky score and their hardscrabble lives.

Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Original Score: 3/4

March 30, 2007
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
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[Director] Dornford-May deftly balances the details of his setting with the universality of his themes, exploring every dusty corner of a village thrumming with tension between patriarchal leaders and strong-willed women.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3.5/4

March 30, 2007
Maria Garcia
Film Journal International

U-Carmen is brash, often strident, yet in the end it is not cathartic.

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

March 30, 2007
Matt Zoller Seitz
New York Times
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No one can know whether Bizet would have approved of the movie musical U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha. But you suspect that he would have admired the filmmakers' gall.

| Original Score: 4/5

March 28, 2007
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
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A vivacious film that is a treat for eyes and ears.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 3/4

March 28, 2007
Julia Wallace
Village Voice
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This was basically the best idea ever.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

March 28, 2007
Kam Williams
Black Star News

Set in locales ostensibly picked without concern for cinematic pretense, this crowd-pleaser conveys a sense of everyday life in South Africa while simultaneously serving up an endearing variation of a magical opera for the ages. Bravo!

Full Review Source: Black Star News | Original Score: 4/4

March 28, 2007
Ed Gonzalez
Slant Magazine

Though not the best film version of Bizet's famous opera Carmen, Mark Dornford-May's Berlin Bear-winner from 2005 may be among the most loyal.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 2.5/4

March 17, 2007
John Coulbourn
Jam! Movies

[Dornford-May] and his cast take the familiar strains of one of the world's best-known works of opera and, by blending it with the sights and ambient sounds of South Africa, transform it into something that is both as old as pain and as new as hope.

Full Review Source: Jam! Movies | Original Score: 4.5/5

November 4, 2006
Brian Gibson
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

A fiery fusion of low-budget cinema and stately opera, street life and high art . . . offers a refreshing portrayal of female sexuality as voluptuous, bawdy, exuberant and unconquerable.

September 22, 2006
Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile

Does it work? Absolutely brilliantly!

Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile

September 2, 2006
Russell Edwards
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Performances and singing are both on the money, and the film's organic, realistic feel seems to have been bolstered by the translation contribution that thesps Malefane and Andiswa Kedama made to the screenplay.

Full Review Source: Variety

July 28, 2006
Jennie Punter
Globe and Mail
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The main attraction is the performance of Carmen by the magnificent Pauline Malefane, who also translated the libretto into Xhosa.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

July 28, 2006
Martin Hoyle
Time Out
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U-Carmen hits the bull's eye, 'Toreador's or not.

Full Review Source: Time Out

May 20, 2006

No prior knowledge of the original opera is required to enjoy U-Carmen, with the filmmakers successfully breaking free of the story's stage origins to create a dynamically cinematic work.

Full Review Source: BBC | Original Score: 4/5

May 16, 2006
Patrick Peters
Empire Magazine

Bizet's music is superb, the township setting ambitious and the performances boldly vibrant. But the action doesn't always escape its stage origins and occasionally feels static and self-conscious.

Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Original Score: 3/5

May 6, 2006
Susan Walker
Toronto Star
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Tells a complicated story, gives unique voice to a classic piece of music, and opens a window on contemporary South Africa in a pleasing, symmetrical fashion.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3/4

September 24, 2005
Michelle Thomas
Future Movies UK

Full Review Source: Future Movies UK | Original Score: 7/10

May 13, 2006
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