Friday, April 12, 2013

Black Orpheus

Black Orpheus is a 1959 Brazilian/French/Italian film, a re-telling of the Orpheus/Eurydice story. It won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, and a BAFTA Award. I couldn't imagine what this movie would be like but found it fascinating. I'd recommend knowing the story it's based on first to get a full appreciation of the film, but that's not necessary to enjoy it on its own merits.

via youtube:

Slant Magazine says, "The film's rousing music, its hallowed interpretation of classic Greek mythology, and its uniquely human interactions create a special interpretation of communal imagination and resolve." DVD Talk describes it this way:
Based on the Brazilian play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, which in turn was inspired by the classic Greek story of Orpheus and Eurydice, Black Orpheus builds slowly, reaching an expected fever pitch during Carnaval before moving into its unanticipated dream-like final act, a fantasy made believable and spellbinding at once due to Camus's careful nurturing of the narrative and its characters throughout. It's unlike anything in all of cinema and takes the viewer by surprise.
The book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die includes this film. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 90%.

Because it is a retelling of a Greek myth, I'm including it in the Once Upon a Time Challenge Quest on Screen.


  1. This is one of my favourite films. I saw it as a teenager and it made a deep impression on me, I could never forget it.

  2. i agree it's impressive. i don't know why it took me so long to see it.