Directed by Marcel Camus • 1959 • Brazil, France
Starring Breno Mello, Marpessa Dawn, Lourdes de Oliveira
Winner of both the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Marcel Camus’ BLACK ORPHEUS (ORFEU NEGRO) brings the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to the twentieth-century madness of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. With its eye-popping photography and ravishing, epochal soundtrack, BLACK ORPHEUS was an international cultural event, and it kicked off the bossa nova craze that set hi-fis across America spinning.
The following interview with filmmaker Marcel Camus was recorded during the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, where BLACK ORPHEUS ultimately won the Palme d’Or. The interview was conducted by François Chalais for the French television program “Reflets de Cannes” and originally broadcast on May 10, 1959.
The French-Brazilian-Italian coproduction BLACK ORPHEUS is often considered less a Brazilian film than one with a decidedly European perspective. In this 2010 interview, Brazilian film scholar Robert Stam discusses this criticism and BLACK ORPHEUS’s importance in film history.
BLACK ORPHEUS introduced an international audience to the sights and sounds of Rio de Janeiro. In the following program, produced in 2010, jazz historian Gary Giddins and Brazilian author Ruy Castro recall the roots of the film’s score and the role it played in popularizing the bossa nova sound.
This 2005 documentary by René Letzgus and Bernard Tournois traces the making of BLACK ORPHEUS, its cultural and musical roots, and its resonance in Brazil today. It features interviews with actors Breno Mello and Léa Garcia; musicians Gilberto Gil, Seu Jorge, Roberto Menescal, and Milton Nascimen...