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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.

Director:

Jean Cocteau

Writer:

Jean Cocteau
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jean Cocteau ... 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

Genres:

Biography

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

18 February 1960 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Le testament d'Orphée See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his essay on this film, Cocteau says: I would emphasize that this film is the contrary of an intellectual or "art" film. I should like to be able to say: "I don't think, therefore I am." All thought paralyzes action. And a film is a succession of acts... In Le Testament d'Orphée, events follow one another as they do in sleep... 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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Soundtracks

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

 
Better than it first seems
8 May 2008 | by richard-1787See all my reviews

When this movie starts out, you will find yourself - if you are old enough - feeling that you have somehow been transported back in time to the 1950s and some very serious coffee house (NOT Starbucks) where, on Friday nights, they showed "experimental" films (not movies, of course, but films). The surrealist tricks that had been innovative 30 years before in "The Blood of the Poet" are still there, with the people and objects that suddenly disappear or appear and the surreal movement. There is still the clearly enunciated and theatrical speech. By the 1960s, this could be seen as kitsch.

But there is still, fairly often, a certain imaginative touch that comes off as real poetry. Not as much as in "Beauty and the Beast", certainly, to which this is much inferior. But enough to justify giving it a try.

And then there is the cameo appearance by Yul Brenner, who actually speaks very good French. Brenner was a big star at the time; how Cocteau convinced him to appear in this I will never know.


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