No sooner had Prosper Mérimée introduced the myth of the gypsy Carmen to the world in 1845 than she became the epitome of the femme fatale, an independent woman who rides rough-shod over the obstacles imposed by men, a sort of blank verse that threatens the rules of bourgeois, patriarchal society. Carmen is a worker, on the fringe of society, and a seductress. She lives and loves as she wishes and is predestined to tragedy by her radical sense of freedom. An officer, Don José, becomes infatuated with her, mistakes the promise of a night of love for a vow of eternal love, and finds himself drawn into a world of violence and lawlessness. Calixto Bieito's production — set in a car cemetery in some southern land — shuns the folklore associated with Georges Bizet's Carmen, though it does use patriotic clichés and symbols to call for women's freedom in a male-dominated world.