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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}

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18 February 1960 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le testament d'Orphée  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cocteau's last film. 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

Follows Orpheus (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
the summit of surreal
11 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

While clearly not the first in its eclectic genre, this classic is definitely a great round-up of all that is surreal - all that the ''mechanics'' of both surrealism as those of dream can be deemed to be all about... Said mechanics fascinated Cocteau, to the point that he had to make this, his final film, a very original ''sequel'' of sorts to his classic ORPHÉE. If only all sequels since had been so original!

The cameos are indeed plentiful as also unexpected; many great stars of 1959 show up, from all fields as all continents! In this, the movie has a time capsule quality that only adds to its surrealness...

Most amazing though is the cameo that is not and could have been; Chaplin, who admired Cocteau -and it was mutual- through the language barrier and everything else that separated them... They had met on a cruise and greeted each other as brothers, though unable to exchange a single word almost... Surely he would have accepted to don the clothes of the Tramp one more time for this unique film... What a surreal addition to an already singular film it would have been! Although, on that cruise, through interpreters, Chaplin had confided that he was sad that he had become rich while playing a poor man... Cocteau admired him all the more for that...

Throughout "Le Testament d'Orphée", the film-goer has the impression of walking through someone else's dream - the director's dream. It is the goal of every film director to have his or her audience view things as if through the director's own eyes - well, I don't think anyone has ever succeeded quite like Cocteau did in this one, his cinematographic swan song as it was as well...

Le Testament d'Orphée is thus highly recommended for so many reasons; Bergman fans as well as those left unimpressed somehow by "Un Chien Andalou", because it was too short; those few will undoubtedly appreciate the long treatment given to this by the master, Jean Cocteau...!


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