“CARMEN” is now screening in theaters in Los Angeles and New York.
It’s not about Salsa dancing. However, as lovers of dance, VidaSalsera.com’s readers will thoroughly enjoy it.
“CARMEN” is a lyrical piece that feels your senses with color, music, and movement as it relates a story of Mexican immigration.
The film is about a young woman from the Chihuahan desert. Her mother, a Flamenco dancer, is murdered, so Carmen is forced to leave home and escape to the United States. In her journey, she meets a marine named Aidan who suffers from PTSD. After some trouble at the border, they escape together towards Los Angeles to find Masilda, her mother’s old friend and owner of La Sombra nightclub. The club becomes a safe haven where Carmen and Aidan fall in love… but the police keep searching for them.
But… again… the plot is not your reason to watch this movie. Instead, watch it for the following:
- The original inspiration for the movie is the famous opera, by the same name, by French composer Georges Bizet. According to the press notes, the opera is a favorite of the writer, choreographer, and first-time director of this movie, also French, Benjamin Millepied. While the plot is completely different from the opera’s, the artistic quality remains.
- While you’re watching, listen for this: the instrumental score features a choir singing French lyrics from the original opera’s (1875 by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy), adding an additional layer of beauty and depth to the film’s soundtrack.
- This “CARMEN” has an original score by Nicholas Brittel, with songs by himself, Julieta Venegas, Taura Stinson, and Tracy “The D.O.C.” Curry. You’ll hear Latin sounds, hip-hop, Flamenco, and other world rhythms.
- While much of the action is set in a nightclub in Los Angeles and in the US/Mexico border region, the film was actually filmed in Australia. You’ll be seeing convincing recreations of those places in the suburbs of Sydney and in several Australian desert regions.
- The film’s producer, Rosemary Blight, and choreographer Millepied, enlisted the Sydney Dance Company, an internationally regarded contemporary Australian dance ensemble, to work with and to train the cast.
- The film stars Melissa Barrera (In The Heights), Irish actor Paul Mescal, Rossy de Palma (whom you have seen in many Almodovar movies), and The D.O.C.
- The D.O.C., who hasn’t performed publicly for decades, portrays a fight referee during a boxing scene in which you will also see an Australian boxing champion. Also part of this scene are Krumpers, dancers recruited from the streets of Sydney who were specially trained for the film by choreographer Holly Doyle.
“CARMEN” is a gorgeous movie. Go watch it with your artsy/dance glasses on and I promise that you’ll love it.
“CARMEN” is 116-minutes long, in English and Spanish, with English subtitles. Rated R.