Orphée (Orpheus)
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Cinematic poet Jean Cocteau explored the myth of Orpheus on no fewer than three occasions: Le Sang d'Un Poete (Blood of a Poet, 1930), Orphee (Orpheus, 1949) and Le Testament d'Orphee (1960). This second of his "Orpheus" trilogy stars Jean Marais in the title role. Updated to contemporary Paris (albeit a Paris never seen before or since), the story concerns a sensitive young poet named Orpheus, who is married to the lovely Eurydice (Marie Dea). Orpheus' friend Cegeste (Edouard Dermit) is killed in a traffic accident. In the hospital morgue, Cegeste's patroness, The… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Jean Cocteau's scripting and directing give the film its proper key of unworldliness."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Cocteau's film technique is as eccentrically sui generis as ever -- his apparent mistakes are often among his most expressive moments."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"A magical enduring classic, to be seen again and again."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"If you're the kind of amateur existentialist who admires the ring of a sentence like "look a lifetime in a mirror and you will see Death at work", then this beautiful film is for you."
‑ Ian Berriman, SFX Magazine
"Full of haunting imagery plucked from the realm of fairy tales, Orphée is one of the great cinematic fantasies of the 20th century."
‑ Jamie Russell, BBC.com
"Somnambulistic symbolism may be art for art's sake. Maybe not. This writer finds it slightly tiresome."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Seeing Orpheus today is like glimpsing a cinematic realm that has passed completely from the scene."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Pretentious? Certainly, but full of the joy of filmmaking and there is a fairly coherent light through all the madness. It may illuminate man's obsessions and idol worship in a cautionary way, but Cocteau is also embracing those very ideas with his film."
‑ Eric Melin, Scene-Stealers.com
"Comes as close as cinema can to poetry."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Notable for its vivid and inventive imagery, bringing the Greek myth of Orpheus to the present day with style and passion that's both poetic and realistically gritty"
‑ Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
"Its tight cross-lacing of paranoid dreaming and poetic realism grips like a bondage corset."
‑ , Time Out
"A poet, novelist, painter, sculptor and opium addict, Cocteau only had time to make a handful of films. Watch Orphée and ponder what might have been."
‑ , Total Film
"a paragon of magical realism that transports the ancient Greek myth into the then-modern realm of postwar France"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"Cocteau's visual imagination, leading us through mirrors into a bomb-scarred dreamworld governed by the femme fatale of Death, is enduringly magical and strongly cinematic."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"A compelling cinematic allegory from one of the great artists of the twentieth century."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for Orphée (Orpheus) on Rotten Tomatoes