Monday, September 24, 2012

Marcel Camus: Orfeu Negro / Black Orpheus, Take I

Marcel Camus' Orfeu Negro / Black Orpheus (1959), set in 1950s Brazil and delivered in Portuguese, retells the Greek Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in modern times. There's something particularly cool about the way it does so. Orfeu, a trolley conductor in Rio de Janeiro, encounters newcomer Eurydice and mentions the coincidence of their meeting. After a brief explanation of their mythical namesakes, the two then go on to recreate the arc of the original myth unwittingly. How this works, I'm not sure, but it works very nicely indeed.

Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn) preparing for Carnival in her cousin Serafina's costume. Offscreen, Orfeo (Breno Mello) is looking forward to the festivities.   

Orfeu Negro is an energetic film, with flashy Carnival (Carnaval) music, costumes and dancing followed every so often by eerily quiet scenes (such as above). Much of the story occurs on the heights of the Morro da Babilônia as well as in the urban Rio streets. The Sun and darkness play major roles, too.     

Death (Adhemar da Silva) in a white mask -- very effectively portrayed. "So long," he quips at one point. And Happy Hallowe'en to you!

More to delve into here in a separate post. 

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune.    


jodi said...

Erik, I think I would love this one with the glam location, music and costuming. Even the people are beautiful!

Charles Gramlich said...

I like that death character image for sure.

Cloudia said...

nicely done!

Aloha from Honolulu,

Comfort Spiral

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