With a background of the pulsating, colorful Rio carnival in Brazil, a reenactment of the Orpheus legend is executed in this vehicle [based on Vinicius De Moraes' play]. This time they are Negroes and there is a clever transposition of the tragedy to modern times.

With a background of the pulsating, colorful Rio carnival in Brazil, a reenactment of the Orpheus legend is executed in this vehicle [based on Vinicius De Moraes’ play]. This time they are Negroes and there is a clever transposition of the tragedy to modern times.

Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn) is a girl who comes to visit her cousin in the city in order to escape from a man trying to kill her after she turned him down. However, she is pursued by him (disguised as Death) in a carnival getup. She meets Orpheus, a streetcar conductor who is engaged to another girl. They fall in love but she is killed inadvertently by Orpheus. The descent into Hades is smartly engineered at a revival meeting when her voice comes through from an old, possessed woman.

Pic is somewhat cerebral, being mainly helped by the fresh playing of the cast, especially Yank actress Dawn. Color is excellent, and director Marcel Camus gives this movement.

1959: Best Foreign Language Film

Orfeu Negro

France

Production

Gordine. Director Marcel Camus; Producer Sacha Gordine; Screenplay Jacques Viot, Marcel Camus; Camera Jean Bourgoin; Editor Andree Feix; Music Luis Bonfa, Antonio Carlos Jobim

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1959. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Breno Mello Marpessa Dawn Lea Garcia Lourdes De Oliveira Adhemar Da Silva

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