Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jean Cocteau's Orphée / Orpheus: Take Two

What are some key technological elements and devices of Jean Cocteau's Orphée / Orpheus (1950)? 

First, there are mirrors. Mirrors open into the Underworld, the Interzone, the street corridors on the way to Hades. Mirrors are the human ego, time and an opening into realms behind or beyond time. "Mirrors: we watch ourselves grow old in mirrors. They bring us closer to death."*

*(Cocteau, quoted here:

Then there are cars and motocycles. Two motorcyclist Myrmidons serve as escorts, guards and assassins. Perhaps they represent the Fates, chance, the interference of supernatural forces, mortality.

Third, there are radios and telephones, and a special radio in an automobile. These convey signals ranging from the mundane to the supernatural, from basic communication to artistic inspiration, carrying strange coded messages from the Muses.

Fourth is light, used to illuminate spooky faces and contrasts. The dark, lack of mirrored reflection, silhouettes and a power outage used to effect during the time Orpheus may not look upon Eurydice after she's retrieved from the Underworld. It's all right in the dark, but don't look back in the light. . .

Today's Rune: Signals.     

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