Rhythm is a dancer...
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 09/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's funny because, while I was watching `Orfeu Negro', I kept thinking to myself; `this seems so French'. If you know of my absolute adoration of New Wave French Cinema then you'll understand that that statement is meant as a complete compliment. Finding out that this film was indeed directed by a French filmmaker (Marcel Camus) came as a surprise, but obviously not a big one. There is an air of jovial intensity that surrounds French film. It has a carefree quality that entices the audience, but it usually has a tendency to litter the prose with weighty and poignant material.
`Orfeu Negro' has that same structure.
The film tells a rather abrasive story of a young man (you could label him a ladykiller) named Orfeo, who is engaged to be married despite his displeasure in the idea. When he happens to meet and fall in love with the luscious Eurydice, his life becomes suddenly complicated. During `Carnival' (the film takes place in Belize), Orfeo and Eurydice find their spontaneous love affair threatened by the aggressive advances of Orfeo's fiancée, Mira and the encroaching Death, seeking to take Eurydice away.
The films first half is an unrealistic yet wholly enjoyable thrush of whirlwind romance surrounded by samba music and lavish costumes, but then the films second half delves deeper into the darker context of the film and delivers a shockingly severe (and at times eerily evocative) message about love.
It does exist.
With ravishing lead performances (Breno Mello is undeniably charming and Marpessa Dawn is enigmatically tantalizing) as well as a slew of supporting performances that more than merely support the leads (Lourdes de Oliveria is tackily vicious, Lea Garcia is splendid as the big-hearted cousin and Waldemar De Souza shines despite being relegated to the background); `Orfeu Negro' really steps up on every front. It's the direction though that really sets this film apart. It is so light and airy and just plain fun, yet when the darker elements come into full effect the film becomes undeniably grounded and poignant. Despite the unrealistic nature of the plot, the film never feels fake. The spontaneous love that blossoms feels appropriate and remarkably meaningful.
I don't think that this film will please everyone, but it is a film that is sure to be cherished by many."
Just like Bill Cosby, my dad loved this movie
SMF25 | Houston, TX | 07/27/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Have any of you seen the episode of The Cosby Show where Dr. Huxtable's daughter Sandra begs to be allowed to go to France? And he tells her how he wanted to go to Rio when he was her age? He wanted to go find the woman in this movie. My dad and I were watching that episode one day and he jumped up and shouted, "Me too!!" That was almost 15 years ago. I hunted this movie down and bought it on VHS. Then I bought it on DVD. He and I watched it several times together. My dad is gone now but I've watched this movie over and over again. I'm sure the collector's edition will find it's way into my collection. And Papi, THANK YOU for not naming me after her like you said you wanted to do. What a mouthful for a name!"