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About Carlos

Olivier Assayas electrified the Cannes Film Festival with CARLOS, his epic and definitive portrait of the notorious international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal, who masterminded a wave of terror attacks in Europe and the Middle East in the ’70s and ’80s. Venezuelan actor Édgar Ramírez stars in the title role. Co-written by Assayas and Dan Franck, CARLOS illustrates the evolution of contemporary terrorism as it examines the life of its title character, a Venezuelan whose real name is Ilich Ramírez Sánchez. Tracing the arc of Carlos’ criminal activities across two decades and several nations, the film features a dynamic cast of international talent and was shot in numerous countries, including Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Lebanon, and Morocco.


"(AN) EPIC ACHIEVEMENT...Nothing I've encountered on any size screen matches the lucidity of this fact-based fiction—it amounts to a textbook on state-sponsored terrorism—and nothing I've seen in recent years has held my attention so relentlessly. 'Carlos' also stood as a textbook case of the total immersion that one can enjoy only in a theatrical setting."
Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
"AN EVENT. AN OUTRAGEOUS POLITICAL GANGSTER FILM. POSSIBLY THE MOST UNIVERSALLY ADMIRED MOVIE AMONG THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL’S OFFICIAL SELECTIONS. Edgar Ramirez is convincingly authoritative in four languages - an appallingly cool killer and megalomaniacal bluffer, a rock-star terrorist and a world-class pussy-hound."
J. Hoberman, Film Comment
"AN ASTONISHING FILM. In what is certainly his best work, French director Olivier Assayas adopts a fleet, ever-propulsive style that creates an extraordinary you-are-there sense of verisimilitude, while Edgar Ramirez inhabits the title role with the arrogant charisma of Brando in his prime...The film’s scope, range and ambition are incredible. Perhaps Assayas’ greatest accomplishment is making you feel you’ve entered Carlos’ world. The film is so convincing that it persuades you this is essentially the way it was. It’s terrific."
Todd McCarthy, indieWIRE
"HOW GOOD IS OLIVIER ASSAYAS' 'CARLOS'? Think of 'The Bourne Identity' with more substance, or 'Munich' with more of a pulse, and you begin to have a sense of what the French filmmaker accomplished with this globe-trotting and epic look at one man's rise to the station of international guerrilla leader and terrorist celebrity. This is an impressive work, the kind that one may be moved to see for reasons of novelty (it is a five-hour odyssey, after all) but that one is glad to have seen for all sorts of nobler reasons."
Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times
"A SPECTACULAR ACHIEVEMENT. BRAVURA NARRATIVE FILMMAKING ON A HUGELY AMBITIOUS SCALE. A landmark contribution to the recent flush of movies devoted to '70s terrorism....a marvel of concision, and for all its nonstop globe-trotting and language-switching, its energy rarely flags...Ramirez holds Carlos' many contradictions together in an indelible performance, maintaining a fearsome intensity through the first two-thirds before gradually draining away the charisma and athleticism, he's convincing at every age and every stage. The film is Ramirez's star-making show."
Justin Chang, Variety
"VIVID, EXCITING, PUSINGLY CINEMATIC... THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL'S BIGGEST EVENT. Assayas achieves a triumph of lucidity, showing us the interconnections between Palestinian militants, German revolutionaries, Middle Eastern governments, and KGB spies—a veritable ballet of wheelings and dealings, plots and counterplots, promises of support and profound betrayals. It’s really fun to watch. The movie boasts a starmaking performance by Édgar Ramírez. Possessed of a commanding animal force, he carries the five and a half hours, capturing Carlos’s compelling blend of arrogance, charisma, and danger."
John Power, Vogue


Official Selection
Festival de Cannes 2010
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Opens 10/15/2010

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FR | 2010 | U | 325 min
Oct 15, 2010


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