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Black Orpheus Criterion DVD

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


Black Orpheus Criterion DVD

The Bottom Line

Marcel Camus' Oscar-winning updating of the Orpheus myth, set during the carnival in Rio, is an intoxicating masterpiece that affects the head, heart, and feet in equal measure. Not to be missed.
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  • A feast for the eyes, ears, and heart
  • One of the most vibrant and lively films you will ever see
  • Won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film and Palm d'Or at Cannes


  • There are no cons


  • Marcel Camus, 107 mins. 1959.
  • In Portuguese with English subtitles
  • Uncut version includes previously unseen footage

Guide Review - Black Orpheus Criterion DVD

"Nobody can resist the madness," a station manager named Hermes says early on in "Black Orpheus." He refers to the carnival in Rio, but he might as well have been talking about the film itself, which is overloaded with delights: outlandish costumes and masks, restless crowds dancing in the streets, and the beat of the drums that runs through every scene.

Among the thronging people and competing samba schools, two star-crossed lovers meet: handsome musician Orpheus (Breno Mello) falls for Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn), the woman of his dreams, on the very day he gets engaged to another (Lourdes de Oliveira). Eurydice is in Rio to escape from a mysterious stranger, but even in the irrespressible vitality of the carnival, Death lurks everywhere.

Unrivalled in terms of spectacle, lush visuals, and richly rewarding music (by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa), "Black Orpheus" is a film that reaches a wonderfully tragic climax. The ending reliably reduces me to bittersweet tears every time.

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  7. Black Orpheus - Orfeu Negro - Criterion Collection DVD

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