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Orpheus (2005)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 36 users  
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Orpheus, a Memphis rock star, must travel to the Underworld to bring back his dead love, Eurydice. Based on the Greek myth.

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Title: Orpheus (2005)

Orpheus (2005) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Harlan T. Bobo ...
Band member #1
Eldorado Del Rey ...
...
Monk
L. Kellie Hicks ...
Rachel Hicks ...
Amy Lavere ...
Band member #2
Joel T. Rose ...
Paul Taylor ...
Band member #3
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Storyline

Orpheus is an arrogant Memphis rock star. He flirts with Persephone, bride of Hades, Lord of the Underworld. When Eurydice, Orpheus' wife, dies to be with Hades in his world, Orpheus has a change of heart and tries to reach her in the Underworld, bring her back. Persephone is caught in the middle ... Written by Joel Rose

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Short | Music

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Release Date:

23 October 2005 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$5,000 (estimated)
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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Brilliant
6 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've seen just about every movie interpretation of this myth, and I'm very impressed by this one. The film maker cleverly works in homage to each of the earlier incarnations of this story in cinema, without doing it in a heavy-handed way so that it's obvious to the uneducated viewer. All this and it's still fiercely original! The director seems to have an attitude toward directing his actors similar to a Bresson or an Antonioni--less emphasis is put on "acting" in the clichéd, false emotion-inducing sense, and more attention is placed on an intellectual and codified approach to screen presence. What I mean by this is that the actor is just another facet of the cinematic frame-- not a separate entity moving around inside said frame; (see the brilliant L'Eclisse or Pickpocket to see what I mean here ....). This can come across in some scenes as melodramatic and in others as rather flat, but viewed as a whole it makes sense in the context of the hyper-formalistic approach taken here. (David Lynch understands this dynamic and uses it in every one of his films and in Twin Peaks. In Blue Velvet it is sometimes hard to tell if the earnestness and hokeyness of the characters is "real" or ironic. It seems soap opera-like until, again, you look at the whole picture ... PS, it seems the film makers are David Lynch fans--there's a scene in Orpheus shot entirely in Tweety's Diner, the diner used in Twin Peaks!) The use of magical realism is a lovely touch here, although I can't tell if this is more a reference to Cocteau or Arau (with whom Joel Rose has apparently worked) ... The lighting and cinematography by Greg Gray are stellar; it maintains the constant, ethereal mood and feel necessary to pull off a film like this--and the compositions are frigging perfect. His experience and artistry shine through there ... Much has been said about the music and it's connection to both the myth of Orpheus and the setting of Rose's film in Memphis, Tennessee, so I won't linger on that much here. I do want to say that I ADORE the cover Orpheus performs in the scene when he travels to the underworld, Chris Bell's "I Am the Cosmos". Many Memphians (and rock aficionados the world over) sorely miss Bell and genuinely ache when they ponder what else that brilliant musician could have accomplished had he not been take from this earth so soon. I was repulsed when I read another reviewer refer to Bell's song in brutal and derogatory terms. The ignorant writer seemed to think the song was some current atrocity rather than the classic beauty it is. And I read an interesting tidbit about Rose's interpretation of this song in the French publication Cahiers du Cinema, (please pardon my translating skills, this might not be word perfect): " ... Rose searched long and hard for the perfect song for this scene. He was torn between using something ancient versus a modern rock song which would integrate perhaps more authentically with the rest of the soundtrack. So in the end he did both: He acquired the rights to "Cosmos", then went about altering the first half of the song (prior to the memorable chorus) to mimic in melody and dirge-like repetition an ancient German hymn titled "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground". Through his research, he learned that early bluesmen in the Delta and in Texas, United States, would use these ancient melodies as the foundation of their blues tunes. If one listens to Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was the Night", you clearly make out that ancient melody. So with Harlan Bobo, Rose arranged the perfect synthesis for this all important part of the film: a song that is both ancient and modern, rock and blues and religious music all rolled into one haunting piece that lulls with its simplicity and stirs the soul with its ancient power ..." I can't really say it any better than that! Mike


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