U-Carmen eKhayelitsha (image 1)

Screened as part of NZIFF 2005

U-Carmen eKhayelitsha 2004

Directed by Mark Dornford-May

The 19th-century opera Carmen transfers triumphantly to the high-octane contemporary illegal beer halls, cigarette factories, drug smuggling gangs and police academies of the Black South African township of Khayelitsha. Best Film Award, Berlin Film Festival 2005.

South Africa In Xhosa with English subtitles
126 minutes 35mm

Screenplay

Mark Dornford-May, Charles Hazlewood, Andiswa Kedama, Pauline Malefane. Based on the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet

Photography

Giulio Biccari

Editor

Ronelle Loots

Music

Charles Hazlewood
,
Georges Bizet

With

Pauline Malefane
,
Andile Tshoni
,
Zweilungile Sidloyi
,
Andiswa Kedama

Festivals

Berlin 2005

Awards

Golden Bear (Best Film), Berlin 2005

Elsewhere

“Black South African townships most starkly express the dreams and fears of a post-apartheid South Africa… U-Carmen, awarded the Golden Bear at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival, sings, dances, loves, fights, flirts and teases its way through this black-majority African dreamscape and sends it to operatic heights. [The film sets] the 19th-century opera Carmen in the high-octane contemporary illegal beer halls, cigarette factories, drug smuggling gangs and police academies of the one-million-strong township of Khayelitsha and translates its libretto into the Xhosa language… With fiery diva Pauline Malefane as Carmen charging across the screen, always on the knife’s edge of survival, one is swept into [theatre troupe] DDK’s brilliant fusion of African culture and the most stylized European art form. The clicks of the Xhosa tongue, the dance rhythms of stomps, shimmies and swaying, all make this hybrid musically and visually unforgettable.” — Sandi Dubowski, Filmmaker

“The perfect balance of real-world grit and movie magic.” — Cameron Bailey, Now