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Bizet's celebrated opera Carmen receives a spectacularly bold reworking in Joseph Gaļ Ramaka's Karmen Geļ. The first movie musical produced in sub-Saharan Africa, Karmen Geļ fuses the throbbing, carnal rhythms of West African dance to the soaring melody of contemporary Senagalese pop music and the vanguard jazz saxophone of The World Saxophone Quartet's David Murray. Proudly rapacious and defiantly erotic, Karmen (Djeļnaba Diop Gaļ) is both a pan-sexual force of nature and a social outlaw. Jailed in a women's prison on notorious Goree Island, Karmen turns the table on her captors by seducing beautiful warden Angelique (Stephanie Biddle) and escaping into the Dakar underworld. At the society wedding of prominent police corporal Lamine, Karmen denounces the rich guests, brawls with the bride and beds the groom. The love triangle between Karmen, Angelique and Lamine evolves into a more complex geometry that soon includes a smuggler and a charismatic singer (Senegalese pop star El Hadj N'diaye). Though Karmen's insatiable lust for life and unwavering disgust with hypocrisy sow the seeds of her operatic downfall, unlike Bizet's opportunistic seductress, this modern African Carmen is "an incongruously independent woman finally undone by her own aphrodisiac magnetism" (The Village Voice). Both a femme fatale and a political martyr, Gaļ's gorgeous Amazon heroine "may be the most magnetic, most beautiful and bravest Carmen ever to grace a stage or screen" (San Francisco Bay Guardian). A lavishly visual, hypnotically musical and "very, very clever" (The Nation) blend of sensual fantasy and earnest naturalism, Karmen Geļ "transcends tourist exoticism thanks to star Gaļ's formidable presence" (Variety).

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KI3922 Karmen Gei DVD (2001/Joseph Gaļ Ramaka ) $24.95 $22.49