Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 1949
UK: BFI (Collections)
Cast: Jean Marais, François Perier, Maria Casares, Marie Dea, Henri Cremieux, Juliette Greco, Roger Blin, Edouard Dermithe, Maurice Carnege, Rene Worms, Raymond Faure, Pierre Bertin, Jacques Varennes, Claude Mauriac, Andre Carnege, Jean-Pierre Melville, Jean Cocteau, Renee Cosima, Rene Lacour, Julien Maffre, Jean-Pierre Mocky, Claude Mauriac, Claude Borelli, Paul Amiot, Anne-Marie Casalis, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Philippe Bordier, Victor Tabournot
Director: Jean Cocteau
Country: France
Language: French (English subtitles)
UK: 95 mins
UK Certificate: PG contains mild violence
UK Release Date: 5 March 2004 (Re-release - London)


- Jean Cocteau

"ORPHeE is a film that can only exist on the screen, where neither the stage nor the book could be of the least assistance. It is the first time since LE SANG D'UN POeTE, a film which I improvised twenty years ago when I knew nothing of the business, that I have endeavoured to solve that problem, that I try to use the cinema not as a fountain pen but as ink.

I bring several myths together and intermingle them. Ancient myth and modern myth. Drama of the visible and the invisible. Two worlds which cannot interpenetrate attempt this interpenetration. It results in the invisible world becoming visible and humanising itself o the extent of betraying its substance; that the visible world enters into the invisible world and does not mingle with it. The death of Orphee is found in the situation of a spy who falls in love with the man she is spying upon, and consequently gets court-martialled. After the trial they keep tabs on her. After this surveillance, she condemns herself for the benefit of the man she cannot but lose. The man is saved. Death dies. It is the myth of immortality.

When one is making a realistic film, the figured line themselves up without difficulty, according to the rules of mathematics. If one invents an unreal rhythm, one must combine the figures and regulate the rules. The least mistake would turn the work into a fantasy, which I disapprove of, and which lacks force. One may like or detest ORPHeE, it is still true that if one studies the machinery with care, one will find nothing unbelievable in its details. The incredibility of the whole only exists for those who can see the world from their own point of view and within the four walls of their room.

The propaganda which pre-judges its influence is always wrong. The only propaganda is that which allows the crowd to share an intimate thought of a man, to awake the crowd to vague imaginings and to clarify them. As long as one does not admit this point of view, one will bore the crowd with spectacles which it has the bother of living and which it will not see when off duty."

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