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Year: 2005
UK: Tartan Films
Cast: Pauline Malefane, Thobeka Bede, Lungelwa Blou, Noluthando Boqwana, Bongani Bubu ,Bulelwa Cosa, Portia Dladla, Lusindiso Dubula, Zamile Christopher Gantana, Mzukisi Gqadushe, Zukile Gqadushe, Thembela James, Andiswa Kedama, Fikile Khuzwayo, Andile Kosi, Nandi Mahlangu, Mvakalisi Madotyeni, Fika Majola, Andries Mbali, Gracious Mbatha, Bongani Mbato, Thandiwe Mesele, Zintle Mgole, Mvuyisi Mjali, Sibulele Mjali, Sindiswa Mndela, Dipuo Mogoregi, Sanele Mohlomi, Nobapostile Msongelwa, Joel Mthethwa, Ruby Mthethwa, Jim Ngxabaze, Mpontseng Nyantsa, Zoliswa Qumza, Ntobeko Rwanqa, Ebenezer Sawuli, Zweilungile 'Zorro' Sidloyi, Andile Tshoni, Sibusio 'Otto' Ziqubu
Director: Mark Dornford-May
Country: South Africa
Language: Xhosa (English subtitles)
UK: 120 mins
UK Certificate: 12A contains moderate language
UK Release Date: 21 April 2006


U-CARMEN eKHAYELITSHA is a feature film sung and spoken in Xhosa, one of South Africa's eleven official languages. Based on Bizet's opera CARMEN, U-CARMEN eKHAYELITSHA was shot in April/May 2004 in the township of Khayelitsha, near Cape Town, home to half a million people. The story of Carmen has over the years inspired a diversity of interpretations in film and theatre all over the world. Director Mark Dornford-May's adaptation is an impressive and entertaining film that relocates this tale of the love affair between Carmen and Don Jose in Khayelitsha, a shantytown in South Africa against the backdrop of the hardship suffered by those who live in it. Framed within an atmospherical environment of gangsters and shebeens this interpretation is a celebration of South African dramatic art at its best.

U-CARMEN eKHAYELITSHA won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival. The Khayelitsha born opera singer Pauline Malefane is superb in the title role of the sensuous and independent cigarette seller supported by an excellent cast from the acclaimed South African lyric theatre company Dimpho Di Kopane.

About the film

Georges Bizet's CARMEN first premiered in Paris on March 3, 1875 and has reputedly since become the most performed opera in the world. Originally based on Prosper Merimee's novella and adapted into a libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy, CARMEN was set in a slum area of Seville and tells a visceral tale of love, jealousy, revenge, desire and madness. CARMEN deals with the bleaker side of human nature, all the while celebrating its invincible spirit. It is this thrilling combination, along with its extraordinary music that has generated its timeless appeal.

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