as film scholar Robert Stam points out - this is a movie about Brazil's Carnival made from a French/European perspective; it's not a Brazilian film.
here we have life, love and death portrayed against the colourful and energetic celebration of carnival. one of my favourite story lines was the two young boys who believed that Opheo made the sun rise every morning by playing his music - and then came the sad and exciting day that they had to make the sun rise on their own....
The 1950s brought a new change upon the music scene in Brazil. This change would thrive as being one of the most predominant Brazilian music genres abroad. This genre is bossa nova. But to be a genre that is this popular even outside of Brazil was quite a revelation. It all happened through one movie: Black Orpheus. After winning the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Black Orpheus delivered a spectacular soundtrack along with dazzling photography of Carnival to a curious American audience. The movie sent America spinning for what was happening in Brazil. The story follows a real life interpretation of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in Rio de Janeiro and does not fail to deliver the outstanding beauty of the city. This landmark film exposes the culture that set the stage for modern bossa nova in an unforgettable romance in the heart of Carnival. - @LordoftheBooks of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
Story line is sometimes a little weak,but the color photography of singing and especially the bossa nova dancing in 1959 Rio de Janeiro carnival is superb.
Helped me appreciate the great contribution of Portugal to South American (and world) culture.
The sad tale of Orpheus and Eurydice is played out against Rio’s Carnival in this gorgeous technicolour explosion of music and dancing. In this version we see Orpheus as a handsome carefree streetcar conductor forsaking his spoiled fiancée for Eurydice, an ingénue from the country who is convinced a murderous stranger is stalking her. As the jilted woman and skull-masked stalker close in on the two lovers events come to a tragic climax amidst the swirling dancers and colourful costumes of a Carnival parade. Orpheus’ subsequent search for his lost love is filmed with a classic solemnity that contrasts sharply with the sunny spontaneity of the movie’s first half thereby heightening the sense of grief and despair. Camus manages to remain faithful to the original Greek tragedy while at the same time making it seem as if it was written for the favelas of Brazil. I especially enjoyed his sly references to mythological names and images: Orpheus’ fellow conductor and guiding force is named Hermes; a guard dog named Cerebus; and Eurydice’s scarf covered in zodiac signs are but a few examples. Lastly, he brings the whole story to a sad yet hopeful conclusion. Amazing!
With the World Cup recently wrapped up in Brazil, this is a great time to check out some of that country's rich cultural offerings. "Black Orpheus" (Orfeu Negro) is one of the greatest Brazilian films, even though it was directed by a Frenchman. Bursting with color, music, and earthy life, it's a reworking of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Some other Brazilian films to check out: "City of God," "Bus 147," "Central Station."
A classic. Watch it, if for nothing more than the music.
Skip It - Black Orpheus (1959) [Foreign - Portuguese (Brazil)] 107 min. Winner of the 1960 Oscar for Best Foreign Picture doesn't hold up today. Amateurish acting downgrades this adaptation of the Orpheus and Eurydice Greek mythological love story. Nothing special here.
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