This 1950 update of the Orphic myth by Jean Cocteau depicts a famous poet (Jean Marais) scorned by the Left Bank youth, and his love for both his wife Eurydice (Marie Déa) and a mysterious princess (Maria Casarès).
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While I enjoyed it, I have the same problem with it that I had with La Belle et la Bête. Which is that I am always more interested in the ways he achieved the effects than what his films are actually about. It just feels like a bland reimagining of a legend that loses all sense of timelessness by being transposed to this stupid version of a French town that is a refuge for wanna be hipsters who I can't stand.
Absolutely breath taking in its beautiful cinematography. The trick photography is astounding. Loved the story too, felt very dream like and I liked the fact that the folks from the land of the dead were the most relatable characters in the movie. Just wonderful filmmaking.
Despite its reputation as a masterpiece, I have to say I was underwhelmed. The fantasy elements may have been unique at the time, but don’t quite hold up. Where it really falls short is in crafting believable characters, a lot of times we’re expected to believe two characters are in love just because we are told they are. Not a bad film, but one I was never really able to connect with.
After being so enchanted by Cocteu's Beauty and the Beast I was disappointed with Orpheus. The art and the invention was still present but little of the awe. It felt like successful experimentation rather than a unique perspective on the myth.
Jean Cocteau poured his heart & soul into this modern retelling of the Orpheus myth, casting his former lover as the charismatic poet Orpheus, whose wife is killed by jealous Death, who is also in love with him. He follows her into the underworld to win her back, only to be ensnared in a web of romantic intrigue & metaphysical laws. Powerful, mysterious, and haunting, Cocteau's masterpiece remains searingly potent.
Cocteau's words may be beautiful, his images and characters... only ever so often. I much prefer Beauty & the Beast. This film does have some incredibly artistic moments, it doesn't, however, work as whole.
As though the whole thing is a little outdated, a few ideas still remain interesting; the mirrors as gates to the world of the dead (how many directors have taken up this visual invention ! Even John Carpenter used it in The Prince of Darkness) and the journey through deathland for instance.