U-CARMEN is a feature film based on Bizet's nineteenth century opera filmed on location in a modern South African township setting. The energy, compassion and heat of township life in all its elements will create a constantly visually interesting and dynamic background for the unfolding of the story.
The Carmen story owes part of its huge popularity to the thrilling combination of a violent gangster tale with a passionate almost supernatural love story. As it unfolds it explores issues of fame and wealth, the position of a strong and independently minded woman in a very masculine society, and perhaps most importantly, the incomprehensible attraction between abuser and victim.
Bizet's opera, based on Prosper Merimee's novel, premiered in Paris on March 3, 1875. Set in a poor area of Seville, the story of the magnetic woman who seduces, loves and ultimately destroys her lover and herself, is well known. Girl (Carmen) seduces boy (Don Jose), boy becomes completely obsessed, girl leaves boy for another (the Matador), boy in a jealous rage kills her. Carmen's mother-obsessed soldier lover who is displaced by the glamorous matador is one of the greatest tragic figures in all of musical theatre. But the story is her story. Why does she push her soldier into violence? Why doesn't she escape at the last moment? What drives her to destruction?
Although these fascinating aspects of human relationships are explored in a penetrating and at times uncomfortable way this is no intellectual journey but a bawdy, passionate, vibrant tale with enormous warmth and heat and some of the greatest tunes ever written. The fantastic vitality and huge skill of the performers from Dimpho Di Kopane make an impact beyond that achieved by any filmed opera to date. The soundtrack, recorded by Dimpho Di Kopane with Imbumba, a young South African orchestra, combines Bizet's score with traditional South African music creating a powerful musical experience.