IMDb > Black Orpheus (1959)
Orfeu Negro
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Black Orpheus (1959) More at IMDbPro »Orfeu Negro (original title)

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Black Orpheus -- Winner of both the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus brings the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to the twentieth-century madness of Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro.

Overview

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7.5/10   6,142 votes »
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Down 29% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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View company contact information for Black Orpheus on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 December 1959 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The film that introduced Bossa Nova to the world...
Plot:
A retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, set during the time of the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Voodoo and Samba as the Root of Black Orpheus See more (60 total) »

Cast

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Directed by
Marcel Camus 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Marcel Camus  writer
Vinicius de Moraes  play "Orfeu do Carnaval"
Jacques Viot  writer

Produced by
Sacha Gordine .... producer
 
Original Music by
Luiz Bonfá 
Antonio Carlos Jobim 
 
Cinematography by
Jean Bourgoin 
 
Film Editing by
Andrée Feix 
 
Production Design by
Pierre Guffroy 
 
Production Management
Roberto Bakker .... assistant production manager
Jacques Gibault .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Bartolomeu Andrade .... assistant director
Robert Mazoyer .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Amaury Leenhardt .... sound
Raymond Pierre Lemoigne .... supervising sound editor
 
Editorial Department
Geneviève Winding .... assistant editor
 
Other crew
Silvio Autuori .... production assistant
Roger Blanché .... production assistant
Francisco A. Vilela .... production assistant
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Orfeu Negro" - Brazil (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
100 min | 107 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | Mono (35 mm prints)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | France:U | Netherlands:14 (orginal rating) | Sweden:15 | Sweden:11 (re-rating) (1971) | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1994) | USA:PG | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The film's two stars, Breno Mello and Marpessa Dawn died within two months of each other almost half a century after the film was made.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Benedito:[to Serafina] Serafina, look how beautiful!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
GeneriqueSee more »

FAQ

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
Voodoo and Samba as the Root of Black Orpheus, 3 December 2006
Author: nettrice from United States

There are so many reasons Black Orpheus is important to cinema. First, how many people know that prior to Marcel Camus making this film the late Orson Welles attempted to capture Rio Carnival but with no story, plot, or script? In 1942, Welles discovered voodoo was at the root of the carnival samba, and started filming in the favelas, the slum shanty towns on the hills of Rio...it was considered by Hollywood to be anti-establishment and dangerous by Brazilian authorities. Thus, Welles was not able to complete his film.

Samba is a Portuguese form of music, the word was derived from the West African bantu word "semba", meaning "invoke the spirit of the ancestors". Long outlawed as a dangerous expression of black slave culture, samba music eventually gained legitimacy and became a big part of carnival.

Nearly 20 years later Black Orpheus achieves what Welles was trying for and goes beyond it. To start Marcel Camus had a script to work from whereas Welles was trying to wing it on the spot. Camus successfully recreated the Orpheus-Eurydice myth using the Rio Carnival as the back drop. The main characters retain the mythological names, including the symbolic Death. This works because it is Afro-Latin culture where pagan-Christian names were more evident and because the Carnival itself was such an important part of the story. History manifests as a deja vu, a cyclical progression of event and re-incarnation, understood only by the occultic transformation of samba, trance and possession, for which the Carnival is the engine.

To those who misunderstand or are ignorant of samba, voodoo, or the Rio Carnival Black Orpheus may seem overwhelming, especially because of all the singing and dancing but samba (and Carnival) is ritual, in its most elementary form it is a raw cacophony of primitive drumming, clapping, chanting... and the droning cries of the dancers who stagger on the edge of the "stage", seeking possession and reincarnation.

Black Orpheus won the Palm d'Or in 1959 at Cannes. It was seen as progressive because it featured black actors and the pluralist culture of modern Brazil. It also gives outsiders a view inside of a ritualistic, non-Western culture and that is why it was and is so important to cinema.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Black Orpheus (1959)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
I don't get it redcrow84
Film Originally in Color?? yb2517
Marpessa Dawn MaryCherry
!!!!!!!!ARCADE FIRE!!!!!!!!! winbutlerisplayingatmaho
This is the most beautiful movie I've ever seen!!! QandU
what male singer was the actual singing voice for breno mello? bimbim14
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