Orphée (Orpheus) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 6, 2010
Orphee is visual treat, as you would expect from Jean Cocteau. Perhaps not as obvious as his other famous works but it's these subtleties that make it stand out even more. It's lovely to see the progression of ideas from some of his early works too, specifically Blood of a Poet. With bizarre statements such as 'Silence played backwards is three times as quiet' and the idea of death being a glamorous woman, I just can't help but love it?
Super Reviewer
August 5, 2008
a modern (or at least 50s paris) retelling with beautifully simple effects; almost as magical as la belle et la bete. wonderfully poetic dialogue. gotta love the death bikers :p i read cocteau wanted garbo or dietrich for casares' part. that's fun to imagine.
Super Reviewer
½ November 16, 2009
A modern retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Eurydice dies and Orpheus goes to the underworld to bring her back, with the understanding that he can never look at her.

I heard raves about this and was excited about seeing it, especially knowing that director Jean Cocteau had directed the magical, brilliant La Belle et La Bete. But I was profoundly disappointed in this. Yes, the effects were interesting, but La Belle did them SO much better. The underworld, instead of seeming ominous and threatening, just seemed to be a dark street in a bad neighborhood. And finally, I just didn't buy that these characters had a love that transcended death itself. Vastly overrated. But maybe I'm just missing something.
Super Reviewer
December 23, 2008
Another stunning work of art by a true artist
Super Reviewer
½ June 7, 2007
The special effects are what really standout about this really interesting film.

A precursor to David Lynch, Tim Burton, Rex Meyer and Guillermo del Toro.
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2011
Another poetic and beautifully lensed film from Jean Cocteau on a subject he is very fond of both professionally and personally. This is his take on Orpheus set in 50s Paris and featuring some eerie and gorgeously gothic imagery much like his version of Beauty and the Beast. A great symbolic and meditative film to be absorbed and thought upon. From a refined time and place by an amazing and gifted Director.
Super Reviewer
½ September 10, 2014
Like 'Last Year at Marienbad,' a look at the hypnotic, but ultimately destructive, dance a man can fall into with his undeveloped, feminine 'anima.' A classic of French film, and a great adaptation of the mythic tale.
Super Reviewer
March 13, 2008
Beautiful and dreamlike. A wonderfully scripted retelling of the Orpheus myth set in France circa the 1950s. The vivid imagery and imaginative direction of Cocteau will not disappoint fans of his version of "Beauty And The Beast."
May 8, 2010
Cocteau's fantasy films are all top notch, but I'm starting to get tired of french movies. I need to sort my movies by native title so I can get them frenchies all out of the way.
½ March 4, 2009
Excellent update (well for then at least) of the Orpheus story. Captivating portrayal of Death by the under-used María Casares. In addition Palpable obsession with Death in this version, there is also a great deal of humor that come through in the scenes where Orpheus must deal with the practical ramifications of his bargain.
June 27, 2008
Orpheus(Orphe'e)" is a masterpiece. Jean Cocteau is french poet laureete of cinema, when Luis Bunuel was working on confrontational surrealist assaults like Un Chien Adalou, Cocteau was developing his own surreal film making language, one just as arresting and startling, but with a poetic and mythic cohesiveness where Bunuel would place an absurdity. Visually, I really cant say enough, it was just stunning even by modern standards, I had to rewind several parts, just to see them again before I could go on. The marriage between poetry, comedy, surrealism is blurred her into a distinct hybrid myth and fairy tale. A poet discovers Death or at least an agent of Death has fallen in love with him and wants to take him to other side, he resists of course, and eventually his wife is taken, leading to a journey into the world of mirrors (for in mirrors one can see Death's hand working). A great film that resonates on numerous levels and glows with intriguing concepts, mesmerising trick photography, and a mythic scope funneled through a modern landscape. Brilliant. Recommend
November 23, 2007
French 'Beat' poetry collides with Greek myth in what I consider the greatest 'non English language' film ever. Orpheus gets his inspiration from a particular radio station heard only in his car. To save his wife, he must walk through mirrors to the 'other side' and then deal with a bureaucracy there too. Surrealist poet / painter / playwright Jean Cocteau's masterpiece.
August 14, 2007
Very solid cinema. While being a little more traditional than Cocteau's Blood of a Poet, the director revisits some of the themes of his earlier work and reuses (and occasionally upgrades) some of his effects shots.

The one thing that kind of got to me is the relatively optimistic ending presented in this film compared to the depressing legend.
½ August 6, 2007
weird foriegn flick... really old... very cool effects though that inspired movie directors much later
July 17, 2007
Has remained my favorite film, for years. Visually arresting, innovative, emotionally evocative, surreal. It was ahead of its time--as was everything that Jean Cocteau produced, in my opinion. Orpheus is a work of art, in all facets.
½ March 16, 2015
A extremely well told story with top notch visuals, great pacing and great characters. Its a total classic movie still holds up fantastically today.
I'll be definitely buy the Criterion Blu ray and you should too
January 22, 2015
Totally mesmerizing.
½ January 5, 2015
B-rate sci-fi converted to classical arthouse cinema. Neat-o!
December 14, 2012
If ever a film could me called `magical', `hypnotic' and `compelling', then surely that film is ORPHEUS; magical because it is such an incredible feat of the imagination; hypnotic because it is a relentless assault upon all the senses, the intellect and the emotions, and compelling because it is a profound attempt to at least illustrate, (it is not so arrogant as to presume to solve!), the mystery of life, our awareness of death and human consciousness endlessly seeking some sort of certainty to comfort ourselves with. Layered with various ambiguous possibilities, and full of symbols which will resonate in a variety of ways according to each individual viewer, each viewing of the film draws you deeper into its mystery again and again, and each time teaches you more and more. Perhaps it could only have been made when it was, (in the aftermath of WW2), and where it was, (in a country that had decided to do a deal with Death and then lived to regret it). Perhaps because Jean Cocteau was so talented in so many fields, people seldom seem to note what an utterly brilliant film director he was, and his work in this respect with ORPHEUS, stands comparison with anybody's. The film is also so complete, and unravels so perfectly and in such a masterly way; not one superfluous scene; superb acting all round, atmospheric photography, and a superbly utilised and sublime score by Georges Auric. I simply cannot imagine a film like this being made now, (perhaps LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD was the last gasp of this type of didactic artistic consciousness), and this depresses me greatly, because it shows that `progress' is not an automatic, upwardly rising arc, but a curve that can go backwards as well as forwards. Anyone who has even the slightest affection for cinema should watch this film, and marvel, surrender, and learn from it. Without doubt in my book, one of the ten greatest movies ever made.I feel privileged to have seen this film.
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