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Black Orpheus (1959)

Orfeu Negro (original title)
A retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, set during the time of the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Marcel Camus ...
Ernesto
Fausto Guerzoni ...
Fausto
...
Mira
Léa Garcia ...
Serafina
Ademar Da Silva ...
Alexandro Constantino ...
Waldemar De Souza ...
Chico
Jorge Dos Santos ...
Benedito
Aurino Cassiano ...
Zeca
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Maria Alice
Ana Amélia
Elizeth Cardoso
Arlete Costa
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Storyline

In the heady atmosphere of Rio's carnival, two people meet and fall in love. Eurydice, a country girl, has run away from home to avoid a man who arrived at her her looking for her. She is convinced that he was going to kill her. She arrives in Rio to stay with her cousin Serafina. Orfeo works as a tram conductor and is engaged to Mira - as far as Mira is concerned anyways. As Eurydice and Orpheus get to know one another they fall deeply in love. Mira is mad with jealousy and when Eurydice disappears, Orfeo sets out to find her. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The film that introduced Bossa Nova to the world...


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

21 December 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Orpheus  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean Michel Basquiat named this as one of his earliest musical influences. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Benedito: [to Serafina] Serafina, look how beautiful!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Scenes De La Macumba
Traditional folklore
(Macumba ceremony scene)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Body in Dance and Heart in Love
23 November 2008 | by (Cieszyn, Poland) – See all my reviews

Rarely have we encountered movies like this one: a timeless mythical story from Greece brought to screen in Brazilian context, the couple come from the very heart of Brazilian society, from Rio. Yet, what links them is the same sweet feeling that have linked the people for thousands of years no matter what nationality, beliefs or family background. Yes, that is what BLACK ORFEUS offers undeniably. The great romance that bursts out in the magnificence and lavishness of Rio's carnival when, truly, body in dance combines with heart in love. Yet, is that the only reason for calling this movie classic? As a matter of fact, there have been lots of love stories on screen that were quickly forgotten. What is, in fact, the very uniqueness of BLACK ORFEUS that differs it from other movies and that makes it an interesting cinema production after all these years?

We could say, though ridiculous this may seem, that it is everything about this movie that makes it a timeless work on screen. Yet, such a generalized view may, of course, result in simplification and confusion. There are specifically two factors that make BLACK ORFEUS significant or still worth attention: the first one aforementioned timeless love story uniquely and accurately put in the context of Brazil, which, in itself, must have been a challenge due to its innovative nature but the task was beautifully crafted by the director; the second being the cinematography of the movie which still, after almost 50 years, appears to be astounding. Those two aspects, for many viewers, constitute this "everything." This enthusiasm may be compared to a beautiful painting you admire thanks to its exquisiteness. In the same way, any film which has an interesting story and is visually stunning occurs to be an unforgettable work of art. And indeed, BLACK ORFEUS is a lovely visual work, the colors are stunning and the imagery is brilliant. The gorgeous views of Rio, the beautiful moments of sunrise and the charming views of little houses overwhelm even the most cynical viewers. But what about the rest?

Such aspects like performances or action cannot be analyzed in terms of modern cinema, according to what we find in the majority of Hollywood productions. Acting is superb yet their evaluation is exposed to certain opinions that not necessarily occur consistent. These are all Brazilian actors, many of whom are unexperienced when concerning "grand cinema" but this very fact appears to be beneficial for the film since their performances result in authenticity and freshness. You really have a feeling that you watch real people in the very circumstances of the carnival in Rio and their love is genuine. There is a perfect chemistry between Breno Mello as Orfeus and Marpessa Dawn as Eurydice. They beautifully fit to their roles and even their life stories proved that mysterious link. Consider that they both died the same year... Lourdes Oliveira gives rather a funny performance as Mira but is also memorable.

IL ORFEU NEGRO is a very valuable film, a sweet and authentic love story that will for long maintain in your memory as body in dance during the carnival and heart in love during romance. I highly recommend it hoping that like the song of Orfeus was capable of bringing sunrise to the world, this movie will bring in many people the rise of quest for beauty and a profound admiration of tenderness. Only then we can find simple things unusual just like the little boy who perceived his kite as the beautiful sun.


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