Piazza Maggiore > 21:45


Francesco Rosi
Introduced by

Nicolas Seydoux (Gaumont)

(In case of rain the screening will take place at Arlecchino Cinema, instead)


Friday 24/06/2022


Original version with subtitles


Free entry subject to availabilty


Film Notes

After having produced Losey’s Don Giovanni (1979) and Syberberg’s Parsifal (1982), the managing director of Gaumont, Daniel Toscan du Plantier, proposed a film version of Bizet’s Carmen to Francesco Rosi. According to Toscan du Plantier, “an opera-film can only be the result of a close union between an opera and a filmmaker. And I mean filmmaker, as opposed to a theatre director who steps behind the camera simply to further the opera’s cause. […] Such an idea established the necessary principles: the quality and physical suitability of the actors; forget the stage and think in images.”. Having overcome an initial reticence due to his lack of familiarity with opera, Rosi soon became passionate about the project – “I believe that Carmen is the most cinematic of operas” – and discovered that he was in agreement with Bizet who “viewed the love between a man and a woman exactly as I do: the love between two beings who are, and who inexorably remain, adversaries”. He wanted to produce “a visual interpretation, not only of the libretto, but also of the music”, so that “every note found its equivalent in a precise image which would make an impact on the spectator” thanks to the plasticity and chromaticism of Pasqualino De Santis’ cinematography. Given that Bizet adopted the language of dance because he understood that “for Andalusians and gypsies, gesture and dance are privileged means of expression” (and Carmen, after all, is a gypsy), Rosi, with the help of Antonio Gades, placed emphasis on the film’s choreography, which was inserted into the authentic, arid Spanish landscape (shooting took place in Ronda, Carmona and Seville) and real, natural sounds. He asked the conductor Lorin Maazel to record the singers separately, on different tracks, so that during the mix he could emphasise or vary specific musical passages. One of the most original aspects of Rosi’s Carmen is the variety of registers: “The freedom with which Bizet worked to brilliantly combine operetta and tragedy is the thing that fascinated me the most and led me to agree to make the film.”

Roberto Chiesi

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dall’opera lirica omonima (1875) di Georges Bizet, libretto di Henri Meilhac e Ludovic Halévy, basata su una novella omonima (1845) di Prosper Mérimée. Scen.: Francesco Rosi, Tonino Guerra. F.: Pasqualino De Santis. M.: Ruggero Mastroianni, Colette Semprun. Scgf.: Enrico Job. Mus.: Georges Bizet. Int.: Julia Migenes-Johnson (Carmen), Placido Domingo (Don José), Ruggero Raimondi (torero Escamillo), Faith Esham (Micaëla), Jean-Philippe Lafont (Dancaïre), Gérard Garin (Remendado), Susan Daniel (Mercédès), Lilian Watson (Frasquita), François Le Roux (Morales), John-Paul Bogart (Zuñiga). Prod.: Daniel Toscan du Plantier per Opera Film Produzione, Productions Marcel Dassault, Gaumont DCP. D.: 152’. Col.