Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Movie Marathon # 2

A scene in "Karmen Gei."

Jeinaba Diop Gai, a stunning Senegalese actress and superb dancer portrays Karmen Gei, a "gorgeous, sexy and exotically conceived" character in this latest cinematic version of Carmen, the classic opera by George Bizet. This new and striking modern adaptation set iin modern Dakar on the coast of West Africa gets a reinterpretation of Bizet's Carmen. It is the first movie musical produced in sub-Saharan Africa and fuses the throbbing and vibrant rhythms of West African dance and the "soaring melody of contemporary Senagalese pop, jazz and Afro-pop that showcases the vanguard jazz saxophone of the World Saxophone Quartet's David Murray". The movie is filled with lively Senegalese dancing and singing.

Karmen is an inmate in the infamous women's prison on Goree Island. Her lusty uninhibited dancing and sensual demeanor seduces the prison's warden, Angelique, played by Stephanie Biddle. Having been summoned to the warden's bed one night, Karmen seizes the opportunity to escape after engaging in passionate love making with the warden. After her escape, Karmen somehow ends up attending the society wedding of a miitary police, Colonel Lamine Diop (Magaye Adama Niang) and gets in a dancing showdown with the bride. She is arrested and Diop is attempting to escort her to jail when he is beguiled by Karmen's charms. Having boggled Karmen's capture and arrest Diop is incarcerated. 

Eventually a complex love triangle evolves between Karmen, Angelique and Diop. "Both a femme fatale and a political martyr, Gai's gorgeous Amazon heroine may be the most magnetic, most beautful and bravest Carmen ever to grace a stage or screen(The San Francisco Bay Guardian). 

If Karmen Gei, produced in 2001, is representative of Senegelese cinema I look forward to with anticipation to future productions of such quality.

Menu - I promised to share the menu that accompanies each movie that I am viewing during my Holiday Movie Marathon. I viewed Karmen Gei after dinner but I had a delightful repass consisting of  French Vanilla ice cream (Bryers) and Armarula, a South African creame liquer made from the marula fruit.  One day I was telling a South African how much I enjoyed Armarula and she said, "We sometimes have it with ice cream." So for this occasion I tried it and I must say it is delicious!

Blessings! Rev. Qiyamah

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