Film: Carmen




If you think you are going to another film version of Bizet’s opera Carmen you may be very disappointed.

This is an art film; a mix of dance, music and drama with very little connection to the story in the opera.

But like the opera, it reinvents the 1845 tragic novella by Prosper Merimees. It has an original music score and is set in modern times.

Following the murder of her mother by a drug cartel Carmen (Melissa Barrera, In the Heights) flees across the Mexican desert to the border headed for the United States to take refuge with her godmother Masilda (Rossy de Palma, known for her work with Almodovar) who runs a nightclub.



A fight takes place at the border in which ex-marine and border control officer Aiden (Paul Mescal, Aftersun) kills a trigger-happy guard who was about to shoot her. They evade the authorities and make their way to Los Angeles. As they travel they become attracted to one-another.

This is the ambitious first feature film for director Benjamin Millepied (Black Swan) a world renowned French choreographer and dancer. He was the principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and director of dance at the Paris Opera Ballet.



The original score is by Nicholas Barrera (Succession), and the fine cinemaphotography by Jorg Widmer (The Tree of Life). It was shot in Australia.

The swirling dance and pulsating music is striking and memorable – but there is very little dialogue or story telling in the disconnected scenes of an uneven script.

117 minutes.

Carmen has finished its Perth run but keep an eye out for streaming availability and new cinema showings. 


Watch the trailer…