Aranda's outrageous Carmen
- The version of the story about the gypsy girl from Seville is closer to the work by Merimée than to the opera by Bizet. The cast stars Paz Vega and the Argentinean, Leonardo Sbaraglia
After the rows and accusations flying between the director and the producer that filled the pages of the Spanish papers this summer, the film Carmen by Vicente Aranda is finally be released in Spanish cinemas. It stars a provocative Paz Vega in the role of the character who burst into life in the pages of the book by the writer Prosper de Mérimée and who was then catapulted onto the stage in the opera by the composer Georges Bizet. And it seems as though this new rendition of Carmen will once again enflame audiences, and touch even those jaded 21st century palettes.
The film is produced by Star Line Productions with participation from TVE, Via Digital and Telemadrid, and has a budget of €7 million. This is the 24th film by the Catalan director and it's set to enter in the Spanish cinema history books, especially as it is the most expensive film ever made in the country to date.
Aranda himself defines Carmen as "his best film". It is the passionate love Carmen has for Don Josè, played by the Argentinean actor Leonardo Sbaraglia, who forgets his duties as a soldier and falls madly in love with the beautiful gypsy from Seville. "I took most of my inspiration from the book by Mérimée, which leaves a lot of doors open" said the director in an interview with Cineuropa (see the interview), "I tried to sneak into these open doors and leave behind some of the pre-set themes that Bizet used in his opera".
In this story, which is "completely romantic, the result of the school of thought prevalent in the 19th century" Aranda puts aside the sweetness of Bizet's Carmen, and concentrates more on her shadowy and carnal side shown in the work by the French author . And to recreate the same lyricism of the opera, without the magic touch of the music, he uses a very unusual approach: "such as focussing on the tone of voice, I also exaggerated and used the characters' insolence".
(Translated from Italian)
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