Various bits from Bizet's Carmen
Watched an interesting film this evening!U-Carmen eKhayelitsha.
Bizet's immortal Spanish-flavoured opera, set in a poor black township in Capetown, South Africa, in the present day. in Xhosa. Let me repeat that - in Xhosa. Yes, with all the lovely clicks and clacks.
The orchestra's good. The visuals take a bit of getting used to - a horde of fat black men in South African police uniforms singing Bizet in harmony is a sight to see.
The Tavern scene (originally Lilas Pastia's) has an energy that matches any of the best opera productions of Carmen I've seen anywhere.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Carmen, having been part of the Children's Chorus (the street urchins) in a production of the opera in Singapore when I was 13. At the beginning of the film, the street children make a brief appearance, but their chorus is omitted. Aw!
There are amusing references to the original, which may not be immediately obvious to those not familiar with Bizet's opera.
1) Escamillo the Toreador, becomes an Opera Singer. There's a scene of his success, and guess what role he's singing on stage? Yup. Escamillo the Toreador.
2) The Escamillo character (I can't for the life of me remember his Xhosa name) sacrifices a bull to his ancestors with a spear. An obvious reference to Escamillo being an Toreador (yes, yes, I know, that's a Matador's job).
3) The brand of cigarettes for which Carmen and the girls work as cigarette-rolling girls, is "Gypsy". Yes. Hence they are Gypsy Cigarette Factory Girls.
The film opens in Singapore at the Picturehouse
this Thursday and isn't going to have a long run, judging by how cultured Singaporeans are! If you're in Singapore, please, please go catch it. If you're not - find the nearest arthouse cinema showing it and watch it!
Need a trailer to convince you? Here
! Official Site