Monday, October 22, 2007

Karmen Geï

I’m undecided about this movie as in a way I find is so-so while if I think about the way the story and movie are constructed I have to say that I didn’t like it. So to be fair as is my very first Senegalese movie and have little references to compare it, I’m going to reproduce an excerpt from an article I read after seeing the movie.

“Any movie that begins with a dance number that takes place in a prison yard is out to bedevil its audience by any means necessary. Beguiling and peppery, the berserkly picaresque ''Karmen Gei'' is enormously likable, partly because it is aware of its own grasp of the absurd.

Unfortunately, it is also sadly inconsistent; it definitely flags whenever its star is not before the camera. Karmen (Djeïnaba Diop Gaï) whips the folds of her long, dark skirts to expose her long, dark legs.

She's like a statue carved of chocolate with an extremely high cocoa content, and her muscular calves look like a confection to Angélique (Stéphanie Biddle), the prison warden. Karmen soon beds the warden, who keeps a candlestick-packed boudoir office that wouldn't be out of place in an R. Kelly video, and escapes into the night, leaving another in her trail of heartbreaks.”

Well, these three paragraphs mainly talk about the 10 first minutes of the movie and if the complete movie would have been like the first ten minutes, then I will be totally crazed by this movie. But it doesn’t as the director and the script writers get quite lost in the story that’s inspired in Bizet’s Carmen, with an editing that I think fractures the narrative and cinematography that I feel could have been better both indoors as outdoors.

To quote an UK critic “ultimately betrayed by a script, whose initially ambiguous charm gives way to disorder and confusion” yes, that’s exactly what I felt it happened.

Still have to admit that this movie is all about the female lead and when she’s on screen the movie shines just because you’re watching an extremely exotic, statuesque and attractive woman.

I suppose I’m going to give the lesbian interest label to the movie just for the first ten minutes, but then I suggest that if you know Bizet’s Carmen opera or the book story STOP the movie, do not bother to watch the rest.

I cannot recommend this movie.

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