Directed by Vicente Aranda
Spain 2003


Yes, another celluloid whirl for the hot-blooded Spanish seductress, but veteran director Aranda goes back to the story’s source in Prosper Merimée’s novella, before Bizet brought the character operatic immortality. More, he puts Merimée in the film, as a French writer who discovers the ‘real’ Carmen on his journeys through the Spain of 1830. From then on, however, it gets pretty familiar with Paz Vega (lithe siren of ‘Sex and Lucia’) baring teeth and all else as the titular cigar-factory girl whose irresistible animal presence drives soldier-boy José to his doom.

It’s all beautifully photographed and scored, but pursues the sexual obsession to such a degree it leaves the characters seeming pretty flimsy, and it’s hard to get that involved when the story’s already so ingrained in our consciousness.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE


Theatrical Release: May 16th, 2003 - Cannes Film Festival

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DVD Review: LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:59:16 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.7 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Spanish | Basque | French (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: LionsGate

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• LionsGate trailers

DVD Release Date: August 5th, 200
Keep Case
Chapters: 12



Pretty smart looking for a single-layered transfer. It's progressive and anamorphic but detail shines rather infrequently. Colors seem acceptable and it's surprisingly strong considering the limitations of the 4.75 Gig disc space. LionsGate appear to have got this from Spain as the menus are in both Spanish, first, and the English appear tacked on. It's coded for region one in the NTSC standard. I don't see excessive manipulation and overall the image quality is healthy enough for standard viewing.

The 2.0 channel audio is unremarkable but clear and clean for the dialogue which is supported with optional English or Spanish subtitles.  

No extras save some Lionsgate advert trailers but the price seems reasonable. I got 'into' this film for a while during my viewing. It's characters are compelling and... interesting. For those who might be keen on this - it's a bare-bones DVD, that looks about as good as expected and is a fine film effort although Ms. Vega is infrequently 'totally' naked - although almost always 'partially' (if that is your premium drawing card - heed the warning). 

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution LionsGate - Region 1 - NTSC


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