Nuevo Culture

There’s a New Version of ‘Carmen’ Coming — & Melissa Barrera Takes Center Stage

In the Heights star Melissa Barrera is taking center stage in the title role of a modern-day retelling of the classic 19th-century opera Carmen.

Carmen is directed by ballet dancer and first-time filmmaker Benjamin Millepied, who choreographed the 2010 psychological horror-drama Black Swan starring his future wife, Natalie Portman. The film made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last September.

The new version follows Carmen (Barrera), a young woman forced to flee her home in Mexico after her mother is murdered. When she crosses the border to the United States, she escapes with a border patrol officer named Aidan (Paul Mescal) after they are caught in a standoff with a merciless volunteer border guard.

According to VarietyCarmen will feature music by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Julieta Venegas and be composed by 3-time Oscar nominee Nicholas Britell (Moonlight).

Carmen’s first official trailer features many scenes of magic realism. It starts with images of Aidan participating in an underground fight with other men and Carmen mourning the loss of her mother. A lone woman dressed all in black dances in the desert.

As classical music plays in the background, a female narrator waxes poetic about man’s position in the world: “He yearns for the tears of our eyes. His heart pumps sand through his veins, not blood. Anything that he might taste life again. He won’t.”

Carmen is scheduled for a limited theatrical release on April 21, 2023.