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1,781 Ratings

Testament of Orpheus

Le testament d'Orphée ou ne me demandez pas pourquoi

Directed by Jean Cocteau
France, 1960
Fantasy, Avant-Garde


An 18th century poet travels through time in search of divine wisdom. In a mysterious wasteland, he has a series of enigmatic encounters with symbolic phantoms with whom he muses about the nature of art and his own career. Ultimately, the poet strives to achieve his rebirth as a celestial being.

Our take

Testament of Orpheus is Jean Cocteau’s final film and most expansive artistic statement. Answering nearly all of the images and ideas on creation and mortality found in Blood of a Poet, the French polymath concludes both his art and his life with this luminous and lively work of surrealism.

Testament of Orpheus Directed by Jean Cocteau

Critics reviews

With one foot in the French New Wave and the other in the Ballets Russes, Cocteau fits a raging confession into a serene, sensuous neoclassical vessel.
April 29, 2019
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It is Cocteau’s humility and also his glory that he neither could nor wanted to distinguish the legend of Orphée from his own – to distinguish, in other words, between cinema-vérité and cinema-lie. If this makes fools laugh today . . . it is not everyone who can follow in the path of a poet such as this.
February 01, 1964

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