Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus)
Release year: 1959
Director: Marcel Camus
Screenwriter: Marcel Camus, Jacques Viot, Vinicius de Moraes
Starring: Breno Mello, Marpessa Dawn, Marcel Camus, Fausto Guerzoni, Lourdes de Oliveira, Léa Garcia, Ademar Da Silva, Alexandro Constantino
Ratings: 1 Oscar: Best Foreign Film. 1 Golden Globe: Best Foreign Film. Cannes: Palme d’Or.
During the Carnival, Orfeo (Mello) falls deeply in live with country girl Eurydice (Dawn). But Orfeo has already promised to marry the jealous Mira (Oliviera) and there is a sinister character following Eurydice.
Brazilian movie Orfeu Negro is directed by French director Camus (Os Bandeirantes, 1960) starring Brazilian athlete Mello (Os Vencidos, 1963) and American born Dawn (The Woman Eater, 1958), making the movie quite international. But when watching the movie, there is nothing international about it, This breathes and sweats Brazil in every scene. Filmed on location, the movie gives great insight into the milieu of the Brazilian city even giving a rare glimpse into the ghetto areas. The movie takes the classic Greek myth and places it amidst samba and shaking hips making this version of the tragedy colourful and rhythmic. Fans of samba music will be genuinely thrilled, however, if you find that type of music nauseating, you will have a hard time getting through the movie. The story is good, as most classic stories is, but the carnival part tends to dominate the movie too much, taking too much focus from what matters. Mello is soo good, that it is amazing it was his first movie role and Dawn is undeniable beautiful. While Oliviera (Os Bandeirantes, 1960) is no match for her in the looks, she completely steals your eyes when she is dancing. It is a lively movie full of life and spirit, but unfortunately also with a bit too much samba and carnival.
The first movie to win both an Oscar, Golden Globe and Palme d’Or.
Breno Mello was a soccer player with no acting experience at the time he was cast as Orfeu. Mello was walking on the street in Rio de Janeiro, when Marcel Camus stopped him and asked if he would like to be in a film.
Ademar Da Silva, the actor who played Death, was a triple jumper who won two Olympic gold medals, in 1952 and 1956.
Picture copyrights: Constantin Film