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Title:Diamonds at the meeting of her thighs: representations of gender and sexuality in 'U-Carmen eKhayelitsha'
Author:Stobie, CherylISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Cinemas (ISSN 1754-923X)
Geographic term:South Africa
gender roles
About person:Mark Donford-May
External link:http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/intellect/jac/2016/00000008/00000002/art00002
Abstract:The heroine of Prosper Mérimée's 1845 novella, 'Carmen', appears as an archetypal femme fatale who lures unsuspecting men to their destruction by means of her manipulative sexuality. While Georges Bizet's 1875 opera, 'Carmen', reveals the psychology of masculine anxieties, sexual jealousy and murderous rage, his character, Carmen, expresses her credo of autonomous sexuality, and can be seen as a prototypical modern woman. This article examines the representations of the female protagonist's sexuality in a contemporary South African film that re-works the Carmen story in an African context. The author argues that 'U-Carmen eKhayelitsha/Carmen in Khayelitsha', directed by Mark Dornford-May (2005), does not realize the potential significance of Carmen's sexuality. She traces the ways in which dance is not used to good effect in the film. In addition, she shows that the film highlights traditional masculinity in various ways, such as offering disturbing parallel between the ritual slaughter of a bull and the murder of Carmen. She concludes that 'U-Carmen eKhayelitsha' displays revisionist and ambivalent gender politics. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]