U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha Reviews

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Maria Garcia
Film Journal International
March 30, 2007

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

Anton Bitel
June 15, 2007

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.

Kam Williams
Black Star News
March 28, 2007

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 | Original Score: 4/4
Prairie Miller
WBAI Web Radio
August 11, 2007

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.

Brian Gibson
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
September 22, 2006

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.

Julia Wallace
Village Voice
Top Critic
March 28, 2007

This was basically the best idea ever.

Martin Hoyle
Time Out
Top Critic
May 20, 2006

U-Carmen hits the bull's eye, 'Toreador's or not.

John Coulbourn
Jam! Movies
November 4, 2006

[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 | Original Score: 4.5/5
Russell Edwards
Top Critic
July 28, 2006

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.

Michelle Thomas
Future Movies UK
May 13, 2006

Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Matt Zoller Seitz
New York Times
Top Critic
March 28, 2007

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
Ed Gonzalez
Slant Magazine
March 17, 2007

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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile
September 2, 2006

Does it work? Absolutely brilliantly!

Tom Dawson
May 16, 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 | Original Score: 4/5
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
Top Critic
March 28, 2007

A vivacious film that is a treat for eyes and ears.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Susan Walker
Toronto Star
Top Critic
September 24, 2005

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 | Original Score: 3/4
Patrick Peters
Empire Magazine
May 6, 2006

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 | Original Score: 3/5
Jennie Punter
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
July 28, 2006

The main attraction is the performance of Carmen by the magnificent Pauline Malefane, who also translated the libretto into Xhosa.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
Top Critic
March 30, 2007

[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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide's Movie Guide
March 30, 2007

[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 | Original Score: 3/4
Stuart Klawans
The Nation
June 9, 2007

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic
June 16, 2007

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