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Blog Post: May 17, 2021

A Note on Carmen from Director Rodula Gaitanou


Who is Carmen and what does her spirit mean for us today?

Carmen has been called a femme fatale, a fate-obsessed libertarian, a female Don Giovanni, and the ultimate female seductress. She is often portrayed as an exotic enemy — one who destroys Don José’s well-ordered world, who drives men to obsession, and who changes partners like shirts.

Is Carmen really all these things? Or is her presentation as an object of desire a patriarchal perception? For me, Carmen is an antihero with extraordinary charisma, infectious positive energy, and a magnetic attraction. She empowers people around her to dare to become what they want to be, without guilt and with complete honesty. Refusing to follow the rules, she is seen as a rebel, but how could she follow them? She is a free-spirited woman who chooses to challenge social norms. People attempt to “tame” her, but when they fail, they feel betrayed and seek revenge. She is an independent force in a world that doesn’t allow women to be truly autonomous.

Carmen’s music sets the body and the mind in perpetual motion. It’s contagious, it’s challenging, and it’s unpredictable. It’s adventurous and full of life. With its excessive chromaticism, it invites us to think with our hearts and to wander outside of the box. This originality of thought and awe-inspiring capacity for freedom drives people mad. One can either believe in Carmen and let her be an uncompromising inspiration or one can try to take her down.

This extraordinary woman has the capacity to live life to the fullest, and she embraces her tragic fate as the only possible escape from an overwhelming society. Through her music, she is forever immortalized, setting an example for generations of women after her. Be and love yourself uncompromisingly, take your space, and embrace and befriend your sensuality.