Black Orpheus: Essential Art House

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  • Marcel Camus’s Black Orpheus took the art-house world by storm in 1959 with its stunning color photography of the Brazilian Carnival celebration and sultry bossa nova beats, winning both an Academy Award and the Palme d’or at Cannes. Transplanting the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice to the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Black Orpheus brings Greek mythology to vivid, frenetic life. Format: DVD

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Marcel Camus’s Black Orpheus took the art-house world by storm in 1959 with its stunning color photography of the Brazilian Carnival celebration and sultry bossa nova beats, winning both an Academy Award and the Palme d’or at Cannes. Transplanting the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice to the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Black Orpheus brings Greek mythology to vivid, frenetic life…. More >>

Black Orpheus: Essential Art House

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2 Comments
  1. When Marcel Camus’ BLACK ORPHEUS was first introduced in 1959, nobody in the world had ever seen–or heard–anything like it. It immediately won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. And it introduced Carnival in Rio and the wonderful sounds of bossa nova and samba music to everyone, everywhere. Thanks largely to ORPHEUS, Rio became a top tourist destination, and the lively, haunting music of Brazil is here to stay.

    As for the film itself, it simply has to be experienced. Camus took the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and transposed it to modern South America. Orpheus was the singer beloved of the gods, whose music made the sun rise. When he fell in love with the nymph Eurydice, the jealous goddess of Dawn sent Death to destroy her rival. Grieving Orpheus traveled to Hell to find his dead love and bring her back to the world of the living. This is impossible, of course–only the gods are allowed to bring the dead back to life–and the story ends tragically. In this film, the beautiful, doomed lovers are pursued by Death against the stark, colorful background of Carnival in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, and Hell is portrayed as…well, see for yourself. The cast is made up of talented acting/singing/dancing unknowns, and the story is so simple, you probably won’t need the subtitles translating the spare Portuguese dialogue.

    There’s never been anything like this film, before or since. Only WEST SIDE STORY comes close, with its modern music-and-dance retelling of Shakespeare, but BLACK ORPHEUS is more naturalistic and charming. Once seen, it is never forgotten, and the famous musical score of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá will stay with you as well. An absolute must for anyone interested in the art–and history–of film. Highly recommended.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. Black Orpheus is an excellent film set in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. Just a simple tale of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, lovers have to face the complications of their forbidden love, and finally, the consequences of their love. A modern day (at the time) retelling of the classic Orpheus and Eurydice myth, Black Orpheus is a masterpiece. The acting by Breno Mello (Orpeo), Marpessa Dawn (Eurydice) Loudes de Oliveira(Mira), and Lea Garcia (Sarafina) is brilliant! Mello and Dawn exude sexuality. They are so good in every scene. I wish they would release this movie again so that the general public could see real acting.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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