Thursday, March 21, 2013

345. Orfeu Negro/Black Orpheus (1959)

Running Time: 107 minutes
Directed By: Marcel Camus
Written By: Vinicius De Moraes, Marcel Camus, Jacques Viot, from the play Orfeu do Carnaval by Vinicius De Moraes
Main Cast: Breno Mello, Marpessa Dawn, Lourdes de Oliveira, Lea Garcia, Adhemar da Silva
Click here to view the trailer


Another movie (along with "The Incredible Shrinking Man") that has been sitting on my desk for the better part of a month, waiting to be reviewed. I was hesitant to watch "Black Orpheus", although I'm not sure why, because honestly, I hadn't a clue what it was even about. However, my hesitancy proved to be accurate, as I ultimately failed to recognize the "must see" qualities of this one.

Orpheus (Mello) is a trolley operator, living in Brazil, around the time of the annual Carnival festival. Orpheus is engaged to Mira (de Oliveira), however, on the day we first join him, he meets Eurydice (Dawn), a beautiful woman, who is running away from a man, whom she believes wants to kill her and hoping to find solace and safety in Brazil, with her cousin, Serafina (Garcia). Orpheus, despite being engaged, flirts with Eurydice, but realizes that he is engaged and lets her go. Meanwhile, while Eurydice makes her way to Serafina's house, Orpheus and Mira get their marriage license and go to buy Mira a ring. Orpheus, not too enthused about his impending nuptials, is forced to borrow the ring money from Mira, using his own money to get his guitar out of the pawn shop. Later, at Serafina's (a friend of Orpheus') he meets Eurydice once again and this time, realizing that fate must've brought them together, embraces her and the two fall in love. The next day, Serafina, Eurydice, Orpheus and Serafina's lover, Chico scurry to keep Orpheus and Eurydice's romance a secret from Mira, all the while getting ready for the Carnival festivities. Meanwhile, a man dressed all in an all black costume, with a skeleton imprint has showed up in town guessed it - he's out to kill Eurydice!

Let's keep this short & sweet tonight, shall we? Well, actually, I'm not sure how sweet my words will be for this one. However, I don't want to be TOO HARD on this one, because it wasn't so bad that it deserves to be ripped apart. It simply wasn't good, that's all. Honestly, I think my biggest problem is that there was a little too much singing, dancing and background music for my tastes. There is a song (a small, tribal beat) that literally plays softly in the background throughout, what seems like, the entire movie. That is, of course, until the end where things get a little bit more grim, as Death trails Eurydice and Orpheus.

I will say that I liked the idea of the movie being set during Carnival, because it's not a common setting for movies, at least not ones that I'd seen. However, ultimately the film suffered because of it's lack of story. I mean, come on - what's going on here? You've got a VERY typical situation where one guy is engaged and falls in love with another. For some reason Mira is painted as the bad guy, even though all she wants is a faithful man and for Eurydice to step off. On the other hand, Eurydice is painted as the innocent, sweet one, but she's the one having an affair with an engaged man and Orpheus is just a low down dog, but of course here, he's painted as the hero. It seems to me like we've got this very formulaic story, where everything seems to be ass backwards, as far as how we're meant to view the characters. Furthermore, nothing struck me as particularly special or must see about "Black Orpheus" and in the end, it simply came off as just another movie to see on my journey. Easily passable, ordinary, non-unique movie, which has decent acting from a group of young actors, but lacks any sort of gripping plot. Thumbs down.

RATING: 4/10  Well there you have it. Sorry to be so short with you tonight, but I'm very exhausted. It's worth noting that I'll be watching "Orpheus" (directed by Jean Cocteau) later this season.


March 21, 2013  1:29am

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, nothing inteligent to say about this.
    I watched it, but it left me with little lasting effect..
    So best to shut up.


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