Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro) Reviews

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September 30, 2013
I quite enjoyed the music and the dancing and the frantic air of Carnival.
½ July 16, 2013
The fact that this film's backdrop is arguably the most beautiful city on Earth, which also happens to be one of my favorite places, may boost the film a tad in my mind. But even apart from its gorgeous scenery and landscapes, Black Orpheus swells with delight when it wants to and seeps with tragedy when it prefers to. A beautiful film, from top to bottom.
½ July 6, 2013
Black Orpheus retells the old story of Orpheus and Eurydice. It's set in Rio during Carnaval, and reflects the working man's views toward this event through song and dance. It's actually quite a beautiful film, and despite being shot in 1959, it looks like it was made yesterday. All of the colors on the canvas are lush and beautiful. The story is on the tragic side, of course, but you never really feel like you're watching a tragedy. Everything is so lively and exciting that it's difficult to get caught up in the emotional impact... that is, until the final scene. I wouldn't call this one of my favorite films or anything like that. Far from it, but I do appreciate it for what a fine film it is and its lasting impact on audiences, even today. It may have introduced Bossa Nova to worldwide audiences in a big way, but I walked away from the film caring more about the story and its characters. And in a film that spends much of its time with the music, that's crucial.
½ March 17, 2013
So very gorgeous to look at.
½ February 18, 2013
While I'm not too familiar with the legend of Orpheus, I was able to pick out some key mythological connections that made watching this as enjoyable as "West Side Story", at least in comparison to a modern telling of a classic story.
November 15, 2012
A musical? Count me in. I love musicals!
October 25, 2012
I liked this spin on the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. Though the dialogue is scarce, the characters and visuals are rich. Somehow the timelessness of the story transfers well to the world of 1950s Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
October 21, 2012
I've seen a lot of movies put Shakespeare or an old myth into a new setting with mixed results, but "Black Orpheus" pulls it off pretty well setting in in Rio. There's a lot of creative choices (Hermes as a trolly car conductor, Hades is a morgue, Eurydice's death), but some seem a little far-fetched. There's a man in a skeleton costume following Eurydice around, for example. I know Eurydice is supposed to die at one point, but this guy doesn't have much motivation. Maybe they could have made him a jealous lover or something.

That brings me to Orpheus, who is a bit of an unlikable character. In "Romeo & Juliet" fashion, he completely forgets about one woman and falls madly in love with another in an instant. What's worse is he's engaged here and wants nothing to do with his fiancee once he meets this woman he knows nothing about but will suddenly go to the ends of the earth for. The movie makes the fiancee out to be a sort of villain but I feel sorry for her.

Beautiful colors, beautiful costumes and city, but the dancing scenes go on for far too long. At some points I feel like I'm watching "The Three Caballeros." It's pretty to look at, but half of it could have been edited out and had no effect on the story. "Black Orpheus" is ambitious and I like how they redid the myth in this setting, but it's nothing spectacular.
September 27, 2012
Of course it's dated, but it is still beautiful. The music is impeccable, and the photography makes me dream of what Rio used to be. Unfortunately, the cariocas haven't been good caretakers.
September 14, 2012
What a brilliant idea to set the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in the Carnaval in Rio De Janeiro. In this way, Marcel Camus got to include much of the music, dancing, and color of the city during the time. If the story of Orpheus and Eurydice isn't quite your taste, then at least you get the chance to soak up the culture. But at the same time there are plenty of interesting choices made with the story and characters. It opens with Eurydice making her way to Rio De Janeiro to be with her cousin, and only later do we discover she's running from a man she thinks is trying to kill her (this is revealed when she gets the chance to talk to her cousin). When Eurydice arrives she meets Orpheus at the train station where he works. At this time he already has a fiance who doesn't seem to get the hint that he might not love her the way she loves him. Perhaps there's more infatuation going on there because of Orpheus's beautiful voice and guitar playing. He tells her he would rather buy back his guitar from the pawn shop than buy her an engagement ring, so she goes out and buys one herself and says it's on loan. When they go up to get a license to be married, the man working there asks if his fiance's name is Eurydice since he's Orpheus. Mira of course becomes upset by this comment and doesn't know who Eurydice could be, but the man is simply making a reference to the classic story. Orpheus doesn't even know at this time the new girl in town's name is Eurydice. Once he figures out her name and spends time with her he starts realizing that their love has transcended time. The old story of Orpheus and Eurydice was true. And here they are in 1959 at Carnaval. Orpheus begins to pursue Eurydice and wants to be with her no matter what. He's ready to tell Mira it's over and love Eurydice for the rest of his life. The only problem is that Mira's incredibly jealous. Luckily the film doesn't dip into the obvious idea of having Mira kill Eurydice and Orpheus having to go look for her. That's what the masked man is for. I really loved the scene where they are dancing together at the Carnaval and the masked man throws confetti over her. He's explicitly stated to be death. I like the way Camus had Death move around in smooth and sneaky ways. He doesn't just walk like a man, but like a predator stalking its prey. When Mira discovers Eurydice was actually the one under the veil and not Serafina she becomes wildly jealous because she had been dancing with Orpheus all night. Things get hectic and Eurydice runs away and Orpheus chases after her. Of course this leads to Death following her and eventually taking her, and when Orpheus discovers she's dead he goes in search of her. There's no way she's dead, but if she is then perhaps he can somehow bring her back. I didn't care much for the scene where she talks to him but he can't turn around. That's part of the original myth, but I don't think it was worked in very well. If she was speaking through the fat woman, then how would things have worked out? It's no fault of Orpheus to turn around and look at her. What was he going to do, have the fat woman follow him around everywhere and he can just listen to Eurydice speaking to him? She asks if that's enough, just to hear her voice, and the obvious answer is no. So what was the big deal if she didn't speak to him anymore? The real closure comes from finding her body. I really liked the boys thinking that Orpheus brings the sun up every day by playing guitar. Sweet innocence like that always wins me over in films. This makes the ending so perfect, having the boy play the guitar and believing he has become the new Orpheus and the sun raises because of him. Then the little girl dances and loves his guitar. The cycle continues. There's something beautiful, even after the tragedy of Orpheus being killed by his fiance by her throwing a rock at his head and him falling off the cliff with Eurydice in his hands. I guess even though you know the ending suggests these kids will go through the same thing one day, there's still much beauty ahead of them. I remember hearing once that happy endings are only happy because where they decided to stop, but if they kept going they would eventually end in tragedy. That definitely applies here. The other thing I didn't care much for was the fact that Eurydice seemed to have an interesting past, since death was following her and all, but I didn't feel like we knew anything about her by the end. She's beautiful. She knows about the Zodiac signs. That's it. Marcel Camus captures much more good than bad with Black Orpheus, just a part of me really wishes there was more to the characters and the climax was thought out better.
August 27, 2012
Filmen som släppte lös Bossa Novan över världen. Sprudlande glädjefylld omtolkning av det grubblande grekiska dramat.
August 14, 2012
Colorful and kenetic, this is a retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice legend set in Rio during Carnival and told with much dancing and a Bossa Nova beat. Winner of both the Cannes Palme d'Or and the 1960 Academy Award for best foreign film, the film benefits most from the timeless music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. and Luiz Bonfa.
The actors are energetic Samba dancers, but unfortunately not such great actors. Still they are mostly appealing and a couple of the older gentlemen are quite effective in their small roles. Orfeu (Breno Mello) is a streetcar conductor, and beloved of everyone, while Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn) is a country girl on the run from death. She has a nice smile. One scene set in a Santeria parlor is mysterious and exotic, and probably the best in the film. Still, at only 107 minutes, Black Orpheus sometimes seems stretched, and the dance culture is treated with a condescension that rings a little false and dated after fifty-plus years.
½ July 4, 2012
Crazy, giddy, perennially dancing... this myth update takes place in a wondrous late-'50s Rio. A joint Brazil-France-Italy production in 1959, ORFEU NEGRO sees French director Marcel Camus reimagining the Orpheus tale in a nice fusion of music and feeling. The story can occasionally become fussy or clogged-seeming, but the rich and passionate Brazilian styles (bossa nova, samba, folk and jazz of all types) mostly overcome it.

Orfeu (Breno Mello) is a handsome bachelor trolley driver; Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn) is a new girl in town for Carnival; Eurydice's jocular cousin is Serafina (La Garcia), and Orfeu's jealous fiancee is Mira (Lourdes de Oliveira). Their squabbling [four big-mouthed Brazilians going at it! -- can you imagine?] is interrupted by Death (Adhemar da Silva), who's been hunting for Eurydice and stirring up some hard-ass mythological craziness.

--which all sounds pretty breathless and overwrought, but the film is actually laid-back and snazzy enough throughout. There are some nice comic moments -- a goofy courthouse clerk assuming Mira is "Eurydice" (the classical character known for loving Orpheus); a Portuguese grocer whom Serafina claims can be paid just in kisses -- and, more globally, some greater LADRI DI BICICLETTE drama and WEST SIDE STORY romance.
June 22, 2012
Brazil. Just does something to my spirit.
May 17, 2012
Although this film is sixty years old, it was shot in such vibrant color (and the setting, Rio during Carnivale, is such a constant and pulsating backdrop), this work has aged pretty well. In addition to its visual beauty, I found many touching human themes to appreciate and enjoy.
½ April 3, 2012
I think this is the best movie adaption of a Greek tragedy set in Rio.
½ March 21, 2012
A great take on the Greek myth, transplanting the tale to Rio de Janeiro amid Carnival. Atmosphere can only do so much, so it may not please everybody.
½ February 29, 2012
The most enduring legacy of this film is that it helped bring the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim to an international audience. The hypnotic rhythms and lovely melodies of Black Orpheus' soundtrack do, however, frame an interesting adaptation of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. I'm a sucker for modern takes on the classics, so setting epic Greek tragedy in the sprawl of Rio de Janeiro's Carnival is a concept I can get behind. To summarize, this is a well-made movie that presents a unique twist on an old legend while featuring a groundbreaking score.
February 22, 2012
The scenery was as lush and breathtaking as the carnaval costumes were colorful. There are some moments where the incorporation of the legend felt a little forced and the acting wasn't exactly top-notch but the confident direction from Marcel Camus more than makes up for it.
½ February 1, 2012
Bizarre. The colours and camera work are A1. Weird story. A LOT of dancing...half the film really. And then people dying.
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