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BLACK ORPHEUS aka ORFEU NEGRO
UK: BFI (UK Wide)
Cast: Breno Mello, Marpessa Dawn, Adhemar Da Silva, Lourdes de Oliveira, Lea Garcia, Alexandro Constantino, Waldemar De Souza, Jorge Dos Santos, Aurino Cassiano, Maria Alice, Ana Amelia, Marcel Camus, Elizeth Cardoso, Arlete Costa, Maria de Lourdes, Modesto De Souza, Agostinho dos Santos, Fausto Guerzoni, Afonso Marinho, Esther Mellinger, Eunice Mendes, Dinorah Miranda, Zeni Pereira, Teresa Santos
Director: Marcel Camus
Countries: France / Italy / Brazil
Language: Portuguese (English subtitles)
UK: 106 mins
UK Certificate: PG contains mild violence and sex references
UK Release Date: 4 November 2005 (Limited Release)
In 1959 BLACK ORPHEUS introduced the world to the music, sensuality and colour of Rio de Janeiro's Carnival and gave jazz hipsters a new, infectious style - the bossa nova. Based on a Brazilian play and inspired by the legendary Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Marcel Camus' dazzling second feature won both the 1959 Palme d'Or at Cannes and the Oscar for best foreign language film in 1960. This enduring classic will be seen at its best in this new print.
The hillside slums of Rio de Janeiro, populated by an all-black cast, are alive with anticipation. Everyone is preparing for Carnival, not least Orpheus, a seductive guitar player with an exquisite voice, who's far more interested in getting his guitar out of hock than in buying an engagement ring for his fiancee Mira. He falls in love with Eurydice who's just arrived in town, escaping her village where she's being pursued by a sinister stranger. The drums are beating and the frenzy of Carnival is irresistible ...
Marcel Camus created a riveting mixture of voodoo, rhythm, romance and tragedy in a production that - despite extravagant appearances - actually struggled to exist: the shoot limped from day to day (Camus slept on the beach to save hotel bills) and finally the army saved the day with the loan of electrical equipment. The impressive cast is led by Breno Mello, the handsome Brazilian football player who plays Orpheus, and Marpessa Dawn as Eurydice, whilst the cast of four thousand extras came free when word got out that a mock carnival had hit the streets of Rio! But the real star of BLACK ORPHEUS is samba. Long outlawed as a subversive expression of black slave culture, samba was banned from the Rio Carnival by the Brazilian authorities until the 1930s. By the late 1950s it had been revitalised as bossa nova, and it was BLACK ORPHEUS - with its legendary soundtrack by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa - that introduced the world to a sound and spirit which still sets pulses racing today.