The Moya View

Carmen: Authentic Priestess of a Community’s Soul

Vortex Media

Movie info via Rotten Tomatoes:

CARMEN is perhaps veteran director and accomplished actor Valerie Buhagiar’s most joyous film outing yet. Set in a sun-dappled village in Malta in the 1980s, Natascha McElhone gives a career-best performance as a 50-year-old woman finding a new start in life through romance. In a small Mediterranean village, Carmen has looked after her brother, the local priest, for her entire life. When the Church abandons Carmen, she is mistaken for the new priest. Carmen begins to see the world, and herself, in a new light. In Malta, it is tradition for the younger sister to devote her life to the church when an older brother enters the priesthood. Inspired by true events, Carmen lives a life of servitude from the age of 16 until 50, when her brother dies. Realizing her own mortality, she leaves the church and makes up for lost time.


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The name Carmen has a siren’s lure. Even outside the well-known opera, you expect a story about temptation. In Carmen, starring Natasha McElhone and directed by Valerie Buhagiar, a soul abandoned by the church when her priest brother passes away, becomes the Goddess that shows her small Maltese community the small joys and sweet earthly delights that come with self discovery- the confessing and opening themselves up to the earthly delights of bits of heaven on earth.

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Stealing the keys to the church is equal to opening up heaven. Listening to confession and administering penitence according to the small justices and vengeance of the wounded heart allows a little bit of sin and the devil in. Carmen seems to be saying that a lot of heaven mixed with a small bit of judicious sin makes for the best human being in this life. And if you make a little bit of money and spend it on the betterment of yourself and others, that’s ok too.

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The movie wants to be transcendent and not transgressive, and for the most part, it is.  Sins that are good and those that are bad, and how to distinguish the two, are the moral lessons here.  Listen to love and listen to your heart and you’ll be fine.

The only divorce here is the divorce from Orthodoxy. Red outfits are not only for the Pope’s cardinals. The steady, faithful marriage between pleasure and logic is what’s being displayed and celebrated in Carmen. Take it in.

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Carmen gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime.

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Directed by

Valerie Buhagiar

Written by

Valerie Buhagiar

Produced by

  • Pierre Ellul
  • Coral Aiken
  • Anika Psaila Savona


  • Natascha McElhone
    • Steven Love
    • Michela Farrugia
    • Peter Galea
    • Pauline Fenech
    • André Agius
    • Rachel Fabri
    • Mikhail Basmadjian
    • Paul Cilia
    • Henry Zammit Cordina
    • Paul Portelli


Diego Guijarro

Edited by

  • Matt Lyon
  • Peter Strauss



  • Falkun Films
  • Aiken Heart Films

Distributed by

Vortex Media

Release dates

  • December 4, 2021(Whistler)
  • August 19, 2022(Canada)
  • September 21, 2022(Malta)

Running time

  • 87 minutes (North American version)
  • 90 minutes (European version)


  • Canada
  • Malta


  • English
  • Maltese

Vortex Media





One response to “Carmen: Authentic Priestess of a Community’s Soul”

  1. 100 Country Trek Avatar

    Thanks for sharing this idea..Anita

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