Carmen (1983): Carlos Saura’s Oscar-Nominated Dance Version of Bizet’s Opera

Spain (released in the U.S. by Orion)

Estimable Spaniard director Carlos Saura’s screen version of the Prosper Merimee tales employs rehearsals for a flamenco rendition of Bizet’s popular opera as the setting for a parallel story, based on the premise of art versus life (and vice versa).
A good companion piece to Saura’s earlier “Blood Wedding,” which, along with “El Amor Brujo,” form some sort of a trilogy.
Laura Del Sol, who made a strong impression in “The Hit, plays the lead role, a fiery, erotically charged actresses-dancer chosen to embody Carmen, despite lack of experience.
Antonio Gades, who had starred in “Blood Wedding”, plays the choreographer who falls for her. Christina Hoyos gives a stunningly intense performance as Cristina, Carmen’s rival.
The dance sequences are riveting to watch, and the whole production is interesting, due to strong choreography, color cinematography, costumes, and of course, that glorious music, recorded by Regina Resnik and Mario Del Monaco.
Oscar Nominations: 1
Best Foreign Language Film
Oscar Awards: None
Oscar Context:
The winner of the Best Foreign Language Oscar was Ingmar Bergman enchanting children’s tale, “Fanny @ Alexander,” in a contest that also included “Entre Nous” from France, “Job’s Revolt” from Hungary, and “Le Bal,” a French-speaking dance film from Algeria.
“El Amor Brujo” was also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.
Running time: 102 Minutes