Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus)
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Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro) is literally what its title suggests: a retelling of the "Orpheus and Eurydice" legend enacted by black performers. This time the setting is the annual Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Orpheus (Breno Mello) is a streetcar conductor; Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn) has just jilted her lover and is attempting to escape his wrath. Orpheus himself falls in love with Eurydice, whereupon her ex-lover, disguised as the Angel of Death shows up and kills Eurydice. To reclaim his lost love, Orpheus enters "Hell" (the Rio morgue) and uses supernatural methods to revive… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"An almost irrationally infectious retelling of the Orpheus-Eurydice chestnut set during carnival and feverish with hip-swiveling hustle, exploding local color, and sleeve-worn heart."
‑ Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
"[The film has] 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."
‑ Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"An inspired reinvention of the underworld."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"From the opening shot, in which two Brazilian musicians literally burst through the frame, one can sense the explosiveness of Black Orpheus."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"its romanticized perspective makes it all seem in hindsight a bit shallow and facile"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"It is an amazing creation."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Pic is somewhat cerebral, being mainly helped by the fresh playing of the cast."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"It's the music, ecstatic, delirious, overwhelming, that is the star of the show: the bossa nova has never had a setting like this."
‑ Anthony Quinn, Independent
"For a film haunted by death, this 1959 reissue is a joyful and exuberant affair which unfolds in a swirl of colour and movement."
‑ , Total Film
"The vibrant color of the costumes and settings and the energetic beat of the music and dance creates an intoxicating atmosphere..."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Parallax View
"This sort of thing was considered high art not so long ago; now it seems forced and ponderously symbolic."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"One of the great musicals."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"There's no question that the tale is timeless no matter where or when the story is set, and you cannot deny that the spectacular cinematography makes Black Orpheus a thrill to see, but it's the score that really makes the movie resonate."
‑ Christel Loar, PopMatters
"The samba and bossa nova beats arent just score; they comprise the very environment of the film, as fundamental a force as the wind or the sun"
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"Seductive blend of mythology and travelogue...there's still sensual pleasure in the urban scenery, colorful visions, and music and dance, most of it defined by joyful abandon. [Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
More reviews for Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus) on Rotten Tomatoes