Carmen (Vega) is a gypsy who seduces a soldier, despite being married to someone else. She then drops both for a bullfighter she is in love with.
Sex And Lucia's Paz Vega slips into the shoes of the titular Spanish seductress in this latest adaptation of Prosper Merimee's novel. This time, Merimee himself is worked into the story: the adventurer befriends Carmen's lover, who tells how he saved the hot-headed wench from prison, only to be driven mad with jealousy, forced into hiding and expected to compete with her vagabond husband and an attractive matador.
Vega certainly smoulders, but is it enough to drive men to such extremes? Selling that concept to contemporary audiences is a tall order, and this film's preference for melodrama over realism ensures Carmen remains a mythical, symbolic tale rather than a convincing one. Still, if two hours of lush landscapes and full-frontal nudity appeals, this has its visual pleasures at least.
It may be steamy, but the lack of realism leaves this a few arias short of an opera.