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Carla's Song (Director's Cut) [DVD]

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Robert Carlyle, Oyanka Cabezas, Scott Glenn
  • Directors: Ken Loach
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 11 April 2005
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002PC2KO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,374 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

A director's cut of Ken Loach's drama. George (Robert Carlyle) is a bus driver in Glasgow who befriends fare dodger Carla (Oyanka Cabezas). After he finds her somewhere to live, she tells him that she is a refugee from war-torn Nicaragua. As he gradually falls in love with Carla, he arranges to travel with her to Managua in search of her lost boyfriend, Antonio - but this is 1987 and the Contra rebels are about to stage their final, lethal assault on the Sandinista Government.


Paul Laverty drew on his experiences as a lawyer working with human rights groups in Nicaragua in writing the script for Carla's Song, which stars Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting) as George, a Glasgow bus driver. Attracted to Carla (Oyanka Cabezas), a beautiful but impoverished Nicaraguan woman who often rides his bus, he sometimes allows her to ride for free--and is fired as a result. But he keeps in touch with Carla, helping her find a place to live in a spare room of a friend's apartment after learning that she's become detached from a dance troupe, forcing her to dance in the streets of Glasgow for meager remuneration. As they continue to see each other, George finds that Carla is subject to drastic mood swings, a result of her Sandinista boyfriend, Antonio (Richard Loza), having been captured by the Contras. Realizing that nothing will be resolved until Carla discovers the truth about Antonio, George agrees to accompany her to Nicaragua to try to find him. Carlyle is typically excellent in this film by hard-hitting English filmmaker Ken Loach, who is known for casting an unswerving eye on complex political and human rights issues.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By @GeekZilla9000 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Oct. 2007
Format: DVD
The start of this film is typical Ken Loach. Real people living real life in a film so drenched in reality that it could have been filmed using hidden cameras in Glasgow.

Loach does something on screen that I've never seen any other director do. He manages to get performances so realistic that you feel compelled to stay tuned to see what happens - a bit like a soap opera, but good. You genuinely feel for the characters and believe that they exist - this is especially important for a Loach film as they tend to be politically charged - and the people involved HAVE to feel real in order for the politics to matter.

The first part of this film is set in Glasgow and shows how the Jack-the-lad bus driver George lets an exotic looking passenger (Carla) escape from his bus after she is shouted down by a ticket inspector. She snook onto the bus and has no ticket, George defends her and pays the 40p himself for her a ticket.

She later sees him and thanks him, she even gives him a present for his act of kindness. From that moment on George is intrigued by her and through his persistence they start to develop a friendship. George even `borrows' his bus for a romantic walk in the Scottish countryside.

Robert Carlisle is nothing short of fantastic in this film. His natural charisma helps carry the character of George, and he portrays all the frustration and anger the character has in a touching way.

Carla's suicide attempt, post-traumatic stress, and knowledge that she has a difficult past help George build a strong protective instinct for her. They become lovers and then the film takes a dramatic cinematic shift.

The rest of the film is based in Nicaragua where revolution is all around and Carla must face her demons.
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By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Jan. 2010
Format: DVD
I watched Ken Loach's "Kes"(69) many years ago, and was mightily impressed. I still chuckle at the memory of the football scene. It was probably the first film that awoke a social conscience in me. I remember wanting to put on a flat cap, shout ecky thump and head north to where the real men lived. Remarkably the evergreen Loach is still at it, even though he qualified for his free bus pass some time ago. He has always been politically engaged and has sought to educate us about political conflicts. In the case of "Carla's Song"(98), it was about the civil war in Nicaragua.

The film is a rather flimsy story of love between a rebellious Glasgow bus driver, played by Robert Carlyle, and Carla a Nicaraguan woman trying to escape from the horrors of her past. The two slowly try to build a relationship, but this is constantly hampered by Carla's past experiences. I am reminded of words from the Bob Dylan song "Tangled up in Blue". "Then all the while I was alone, the past was close behind". Carlyle decides that the only way to excise the demons is to take Carla back to her homeland, and try to find the answers to haunting questions. This puts them into the danger zone as they seek Carla's family and an old lover. We head to a bittersweet finale. Will true love win the day?

As a love story the film does not quite work for me. The relationship is a little contrived and unlikely. The story itself lacks any real structure and is just a means for Loach to fall back on his common themes of politics gone sour, and mans inhumanity to man. Robert Carlyle is excellent in the lead role. That solid American actor Scott Glenn turns up improbably in the guise of an ex CIA man now batting for the other side.
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Format: DVD
It is 1987 and George (played by Robert Carlyle) a young bus driver in Glasgow picks up a Nicaraguan refugee (played by Oyanka Cabezas) and when she does not pay her fare he protects her from the onslaught of the ticket inspector and pays the fare himself. They later come into contact and he finds she is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of her experiences in Nicaragua where she is a supporter of the Sandanistas which is fighting the US backed Contras. They fall in love and he saves her life when she attempts suicide by cutting her wrists and George is also told in the hospital that this was her second suicide attempt. In an effort to lay the ghosts of her past they go to Nicaragua, make contact with her family, get caught up in the fighting and the outcome for both of them is dramatic and life changing.

Carlyle and Cabezas (who is from Nicaragua and a dancer) are both superb in the main roles and, as always, Ken Loach produces a gem of a film that is fresh, original, mature, intelligent and dramatic. The film was made not long after the conflict so the scenes shot in Nicaragua have an authentic feel about them and Loach stages the scenes there brilliantly. Films of this quality made from a left wing perspective are difficult to make as film companies are not usually keen to fund such projects and tend to stick with familiar tried and tested themes which is maybe why so many films made these days are unoriginal, predictable and bland but this seems to be what the public wants which I think is a pretty sad state of affairs.
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