Los Angeles Times - 01/06/1986
"...[A] vivid, romantic reworking of the classic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice....BLACK ORPHEUS holds up amazingly well, its rich color and incessant samba beat as intoxicating as ever..."
USA Today - 02/16/1989
"...Brilliant color, a dynamic score and attractive performers..."
Total Film - 04/01/2007 3 stars out of 5 -- "The carnival scenes are exhilarating, a riot of color, music and movement..."
A.V. Club - 09/15/2010
"Camus gets it right, presenting a song- and sun-drenched vision of life so beautiful that death seems unthinkable. And then it inevitably arrives, leaving behind old stories, and new voices to sing about them."
Wall Street Journal - 10/22/2010
"[Featuring] swirling color, the excitement of samba and the accessible joy of a fabled city, not to mention a charming Orpheus in the young Brazilian Breno Mello, and a dazzling Eurydice in the American-born dancer and actress Marpessa Dawn."
Camus' winner of the Palme d'Or winner at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival is a modern reinterpretation of the myth of Orpheus which simultaneously celebrates the beauty, music and people of Brazil. In this version of the ages-old tale, Orpheus is a streetcar conductor and star Carnival dancer who is betrothed to the determined Mira but is in love with Eurydice. As Mira and Death himself pursue the doomed Orpheus and his lover through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Carnival literally brings the streets to life. Lush photography and the timeless and brilliant bossa nova sounds of Jobim give the film a distinct power and beauty.
A modern retelling of the Orpheus legend, played out against the background of Rio de Janeiro's famous carnival. Frightened after she notices a mysterious man stalking her, Eurydice flees her hometown to take refuge with her cousin in Rio. There, she meets a young man named Orpheus, who wins her love with the beautiful sambas he plays on his guitar. But during the carnival festivities, they become separated when Eurydice bolts after spotting her pursuer in the crowd -- dressed as Death in his carnival costume. Once again, as in ancient Greece, it seems as if Orpheus will lose his beloved Eurydice...
Love Story |
Theatrical Release |
Filmed in Eastmancolor and CinemaScope.
Marpessa Dawn, the actress who plays Eurydice, was an American dancer who performed in the company of famed choreographer Katherine Dunham.
The video is also available in a dubbed version; the actors who redid the dialogue have a variety of Caribbean accents.
Shot on location in Rio de Janeiro, the film features actual footage of the city's 1959 carnival festivities.
Vinicius de Moraes, who wrote the play on which the film is based, and Luis Bonfa and Antonio Carlos Jobim, who wrote the music, are three of Brazil's most highly regarded musicians and composers. They helped develop and popularize bossa nova, the Brazilian musical style that combined traditional samba with American jazz. Jobim is best known to Americans as the composer of "The Girl from Ipanema."
The print used for the Home Vision Cinema VHS version is from the Janus collection.