Thursday, June 4, 2009

Only In Dreams (Orphic Trilogy pt. 2)

Orphee (Orpheus) (1950)directed by Jean Cocteau

"I am letting you into the secret of all secrets, mirrors are gates through which death comes and goes. Moreover if you see your whole life in a mirror you will see death at work as you see bees behind the glass in a hive."Orpheus(Orphe'e)" is a masterpiece. Jean Cocteau is french poet laureate of cinema. When Luis Bunueul was working on confrontational surrealist assaults like "Un Chien Adalou", Cocteau was developing his own surreal film making language, one just as arresting and startling, but with a poetic and mythic cohesiveness where Bunuel would place an absurdity. Visually, I really cant say enough, it was just stunning even by modern standards, I had to rewind several parts, just to see them again before I could go on. The marriage between poetry, comedy, surrealism is blurred her into a distinct hybrid myth and fairy tale. A poet discovers Death or at least an agent of Death has fallen in love with him and wants to take him to other side, he resists of course, and eventually his wife is taken, leading to a journey into the world of mirrors (for in mirrors one can see Death's hand working). A great film that resonates on numerous levels and glows with intriguing concepts, mesmerising trick photography, and a mythic scope funneled through a modern landscape. A brilliant film, and the most accessible middle child, in the Orphic trilogy, between free associative,"The Blood Of A Poet" and the meta-fictive funeral song, "The Testament Of Orpheus".Orpheus is a one of a kind trip into ancient mythology through modern avant-garde cinematic techniques, that still look and feel fresh, drawing on energy and imagery both simple, alien, and classical. A difficult tightrope to walk for any film maker, but one Cocteau manages as if he didn't believe such a line exists, as if it were only a lucid dream he could make up as he goes along. And he does. See it.

No comments: