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Orpheus

(Film - 1949)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Orpheus
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This is the second film of Cocteau's trilogy starting with Blood of the poet and ending with The Testament of Orpheus. In this modern re-telling of the Greek legend, the poet Orpheus is in conflict with his wife, Eurydice, and struggles with the unknown world of "inspiration," personnified by the Princess. Like the mythical journey of Orpheus to Hades, Cocteau's protagonist must travel to the unknown, herein called "the zone," which the director filmed in the ruins of the military academy of Saint-Cyr. Cocteau's fable is delineated as a "detective story" and is replete with cinematic tricks reminiscent of Melies.(Does not circulate)
Publisher: [S.l.] : [s.n.], 1949
Branch Call Number: M16 3950 O
Characteristics: 3 film reels (112 min.) : sd., b&w. ; 16 mm.

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Dec 17, 2014
  • Nursebob rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Jean Cocteau's avant-garde interpretation of the Greek myth follows Orpheus, a frustrated Parisian poet who finds his own personal muse in the form of a sexy vampish Grim Reaper much to the consternation of his long-suffering and secretly pregnant wife, Eurydice. When Ms. Reaper (aka "The Princess") winds up claiming Eurydice, Orpheus enlists the aid of one of her netherworld henchmen in order to journey to Hades and bring her back; but he finds himself torn between his dutiful love for Eurydice and his passionate obsession for the Princess. Tears, self-sacrifice, and one terrible caveat ensue. Cocteau's use of contemporary post WWII French culture (The Princess' demonic goons are leather-clad bikers; Orpheus receives poetic inspiration via short wave radio broadcasts a la Radio Free Europe) coupled with some highly experimental camerawork makes this a solid arthouse mainstay. Considered by many to be a semi-autobiographical work, "Orpheus" examines both the inner workings of an artistic mind as well as the societal pressures exerted upon it. It's all very rich in detail, and symbolism practically oozes from every frame but, despite it's many critical accolades, I still found it rather dry and meandering. À chacun son goût.

Oct 19, 2011
  • Glencoe_Mike rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Not anywhere near as enjoyable as his Beauty and the Beast but still some mind-blowing fun.

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