Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

DVD Spotlight - Black Orpheus


A 1959 film, loosely based on Orpheus and Eurydice of Greek mythology, taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during Carnival season.

In the hands of French filmmaker in Marcel Camus, the film feels like a tourist's rendition of the area and the people who live there; it’s like watching a travelogue or an extended commercial for Rio de Janeiro.

Each setting is colorful, lush, bright, etc, but the characters, as well as the story, are thin in their depictions and development; and the acting certainly isn’t the best, although Camus used an unprofessional cast, which is evident.

Maybe the film was meant as more of a celebration of Rio and Carnival, than it is an adaptation of the Greek Myth.

Of course, there's the wonderful soundtrack put together by the great Antonio Carlos Jobim (Girl From Ipanema), which is credited for single-handedly introducing the Bossa Nova to rest of the world.

It's also worth mentioning that the film did win the Palme d'Or at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, as well as the 1960 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The below clip is the very last scene of the film, and, in my opinion, the best scene in the entire film. It’s the most fluid and seductive, involving 3 young children (2 boys and girl), a guitar, and a wonderful sunrise. If the rest of the film was just as affecting, it would make for a much more powerful and thus memorable experience. See it anyway!


  1. Anonymous said...

    "Black Orpheus" is one of my favorites. The cinematography is just stunning, the soundtrack is excellent, and the story is just grand. And I also love the ending & it's symbolic statement of the phrase "from generation to generation."

  2. The Obenson Report said...

    Thanks for the comment V-K!

  3. Miss said...

    This movie scared the ish out of me when I was a kid...I had a fear of someone following me for a long time afterward...

  4. The Obenson Report said...

    Really? It scared you? Ha! That's funny to me :o)

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