Wednesday, February 12, 2014

ORFEU NEGRO - "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" (1959)

Welcome to yet another installment of Weirdo Wednesday! Tonight's feature is an Academy Award winning film based on a classical tale of romantic tragedy titled "Black Orpheus!" Before he made movies, Director Marcel Camus was a Professor of Sculpture and Painting, and it shows in this film!

The French film "Orfeu Negro" is based on the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice as played out in 1959 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during Carnival!

If you had to choose a place to shoot a movie that was a lot of fun in 1959, it would either be Rio or New Orleans. Today it would probably be Vegas!

One of the reasons that "Black Orpheus" won an Oscar in 1960 for Best Foreign Film is because it's just fun to look at! No, not fun, it's actually beautiful!

All the bright colours of Carnival matched up with an almost endless stream of batucadas will hypnotize you if you're not careful!

And then it's all juxtaposed to the stark sleek angles of the city itself!

Eurydice is played by the lovely and oh so innocent looking Marpessa Dawn! Marpessa was born in Pittsburg, Pa. but moved to the UK as a teenager.  This was her first starring role!

To fans of schlock 50's horror, Marpessa was 'the native girl' in the 1958 classic "The Woman Eater!"

This is Orpheus, the regular guy trolley car conductor, as played by Breno Mello! When he first spots Eurydice, it's literally love at first sight! Breno was a native of Brazil, and was only ever in five other movies! In the 'kind of strange department,' Marpessa and Breno passed away within weeks of each other in 2008!

Orpheus is engaged to Mira as played by Lourdes de Oliveira, who could dance her ass off, but was only ever in one other movie, but Eurydice is where his thoughts lie!

Eurydice on the other hand, has problems of her own and is being pursued by some unknown stalker, and it's really pretty creepy!

It's a very festive time, and everybody is in costume for Carnival, so Eurydice's cousin Serafina gets all dolled up as a lampshade!

Okay, this dude genuinely creeps me out! This is the ex-lover of Eurydice who is pursuing her through the streets and alleys of Rio dressed as Death! The costume, the way he moves, it just all adds up to creepy, and here's why! This guy, in reality, is athlete and actor Ademar Da Silva, and why wouldn't you want a guy like Ademar chasing you through the streets of Rio? Well, if he looks just a little muscular it's because he won the Gold Medal in the Triple Jump at The Olympics in 1952 AND 1956! He also at one point held seven world records! Not the kind of guy you'd want chasing you!

There's no screwing around here, these people know how to party!!!

Death just hangs back and watches! That's the other creepy part, because everybody's in costume, nobody, not even Death, is suspected of being a little weird!

This pretty much says it all, "Black Orpheus" will make your head spin!

It's not just Death, it's a slow, torturous, purposeful Death, and he just keeps getting creepier!

In a nutshell,  when it's over, this is what life's all about, just one long vacant corridor!!

If there is any hope in the world, it rests with the children!

The music used throughout "Black Orpheus" was composed by two of Brazil's many musical geniuses, Luiz Bonfá, and Antonio Carlos Jobim! Three years later, Vince Guaraldi would have a massive hit with his "Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus" single, "Cast Your Fate To The Wind!" All of Dave Brubeck's music is very cool, and Dollar Brand's "Cape Town Fringe" is understated brilliance, but "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" is one of the coolest from the first time you heard it to the last time you heard it, and will be forever!


Anonymous said...

Great frame grabs! thanks for the post!

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Thanx! It's easy when a movie is as beautiful as this!!

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