Carmen | Chicago Reader

Carmen

While producing a ballet of Carmen, a choreographer (Antonio Gades) finds himself reenacting the tempestuous plot with his passionate leading lady (Laura del Sol). The obviousness of the idea is exceeded only by the triteness of execution in this 1983 film by Carlos Saura (Tango); just enough pretentiousness is laid over the sterile concept to make it a real classy night out for the folks who've been yearning to see an “art film.” The dancing is not so bad, and it might have been interesting to see how it was developed, but Saura isn't concerned with anything as mundane as the creative process: the action is set in a rehearsal hall, but nobody rehearses. Instead, Saura is after the big enchilada: the film reveals, to the astonishment of all concerned, that Life Imitates Art. Del Sol is a born smolderer, but Gades's constant preening takes the edge off whatever eroticism Saura is able to stir. R, 102 min.

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