The tragic fate of the lovely Carmen, a cigar factory worker. She seduces Don José, a brigadier, and in turn lets herself be seduced by Escamillo, a toreador. A tale where love meets death in the afternoon; Georges Bizet's famous opera superbly filmed by Francesco Rosi.
A masterpiece in the field of cinema, Francesco Rosi's Carmen is a film adaptation of Georges Bizet's world famous opera. The film encountered great success when it was released in 1984. It was nominated for many awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film in 1985. It is still is a best-seller. It stars Julia Migenes Johnson as Carmen, Plácido Domingo as Don José and Ruggero Raimondi as Escamillo. A master of cinema, Francesco Rosi is renowned for the realism of his films. Carmen is no exception:
"When I was offered to bring Bizet's masterpiece to the screen, I was terribly tempted and I finally accepted, but only on condition that I would make it as I made my previous films; that is, in intimate terms with the social and cultural reality that brought about and conditioned the story in the first place. Carmen's links with the Spanish reality of the period, if carefully studied, turn out to belong to a much more authentic vision of Spain that one would imagine from a staging of the opera. The streets and plazas, the interiors, the soldiers in the barracks, the girls in the cigar factory, the smugglers high in the mountains of Ronda, gypsies, flamenco dancers, bulls and bullfighters – all of these can find a more accurate expression in film language."
Bizet composed this four acts comic opera after a libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. An avant-gardist work, misunderstood by audiences when it was premiered in 1875, Carmen is without any doubt the most staged French opera across the world, and its Overture and "L'Amour est un oiseau rebelle" songs are timeless. Bizet's score alternates lyrical and tragic parts. In that way, both musical and theatrical performances can be highly expressive.
The plot, after Prosper Mérimée's short story, takes place in Seville, Spain. Carmen is glamorous, a real "men hunter". A victim of justice, but also a heartbreaker, she is a free woman but her choices condemn her. The figure of Carmen shocked as much audiences when the opera was premiered as she fascinates nowadays. In Seville, going to jail after a fight with another cigar seller, Carmen, a Bohemian, seduces the young brigadier Don José, Micaëla's fiancé and promises him love if he gives her back her freedom...