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Testament of Orpheus (1960)

Le testament d'Orphée, ou ne me demandez pas pourquoi! (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography | 18 February 1960 (France)
The Poet looks back over his life and work, recalling his inspirations and obsessions.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Himself - the Poet
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Storyline

The poet Jean Cocteau is lost in space-time. He has been in the 18th century and is now turning up at different moments in professor Langevin's life. The professor has invented some bullets, which travel faster than light. With one of them he kills Cocteau, who is resurrected as his old self, but is still caught in the space between fantasy and reality. At a gypsy camp a woman saves a photo out of the fire and restores it. On the photo Cocteau recognizes Cégeste from his film Orphée. He tears the photo into pieces and throws it into the sea. Immediately Cégeste himself jumps out of the water. He brings Cocteau to a rogatory commission led by Heurtebise and The Princess from the film Orphée. Cocteau admits that he has constantly attempted to enter a world which is not his own, a world that is beyond the limits of man, and that disobedience is like a religion for him. The commission imposes on him the sentence of life. In a hall inside some stone ruins the goddess Athena kills Cocteau ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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18 February 1960 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le testament d'Orphée  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Having run out of funds, Cocteau was able to complete the film with the prize money that Francois Truffaut had just won for "Les Quatre Cents Coups" (1959). See more »

Quotes

Cégeste: It's no use. An artist always paints his own portrait. You'll never paint that flower.
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Connections

Referenced in Discovering 'Evil Dead' (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Orphée et Eurydice
Composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck
(1762)
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User Reviews

 
Another magical and surreal movie from Jean Cocteau
6 April 2008 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

"The Testament of Orpheus" is the last film by Jean Cocteau, and even if it isn't as mind blowing as either "Orpheus" or "Beauty and the Beast", its still a captivating and dreamlike work of art. Jean Cocteau plays himself, "The Poet", who wanders into a bizarre landscape (not unlike that in "Orpheus") inhabited by various creations of his who blame him for their misfortunes. While if most other artists attempted to make a film like this, it would come off as showy egotism, Cocteau manages to make it feel as anything but. He raises some interesting questions about the nature of art and the importance of the artist to modern society. Also, the film is remarkably original, possibly the first true "meta-movie" ever made.

On a technical level, this is exquisite as well. Cocteau's direction is wonderfully magical and surreal. His special effects and camera tricks are always a highlight of his work. Hes obsessed with presenting many simplistic tricks that are easy to figure out but carry a true sense of otherworldly beauty. Even if one isn't interested in Cocteau's intellectual quest, they'll be captivated by the visuals themselves. The addition of several entertaining cameos (including Yul Brunner and Pablo Picasso) is only the icing on the cake. Cocteau creates surreal art films that are never boring, which is quite rare. (8/10)


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