Written in 1845 by Prosper Mérimée, “Carmen” tells the story of a Spanish soldier, Don José, who is ordered to arrest Carmen, a gypsy woman he instead runs away with, taking on the life of a vagabond. Eventually, their romance runs its course and José kills her.
In 2022, French dancer and director Benjamin Millipied (”Black Swan”) released a new take on the classic story in which the title character, played by Melissa Berrera, is a Mexican runaway who crosses the border into America after her mother is murdered. The border patrol all seem to be ruthless killers — that is, except for Marine Corps veteran Aidan (Paul Mescal), a soulful-but-violent lead suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In the trailer, Aidan throws in with Carmen after shooting a fellow border patrol agent — Carmen’s would-be killer. The pair then flee to the desert to find Masilda (Rossy De Palma), the best friend of Carmen’s mother and owner of La Sombra night club in Los Angeles — a place they see as a refuge from their tormented pasts.
“Dreaming. Loving. You have to be free. Dance,” Masilda says in the trailer.
It’s unclear whether this Carmen will meet the same end at hands of Aiden as Mérimée’s lead. With his tendency toward brutality illustrated in the trailer — the use of veteran PTSD to explain a character’s penchant for violence is as stereotypical as it is shallow — it’s possible that music and dance aren’t enough to save him from the same fate as Don José.
“Carmen” premieres in theaters on April 21.
Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.