Movie Information

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Orpheus at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6, at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com
Genre: Fantasy
Director: Jean Cocteau
Starring: Jean Marais, François Périer, María Casares, Marie Déa, Edouard Dermithe
Rated: NR

When Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus (1950) last screened locally, I wrote in part that the film was “more than a modern-dress variant of the myth, [and that] it becomes a statement about art, the art world and Cocteau’s place in it. It’s not entirely free of self-criticism, either, since Cocteau most clearly relates to the ‘too famous’ poet of the title, whose fame has won him the adulation of the public and the scorn of his peers. In that role, he allows himself to be lectured that ‘no excess is absurd,’ while taking up the challenge to ‘astonish us.’ And that’s exactly what he spends the remainder of the film doing in a series of evermore beautiful and atmospheric scenes of surrealist poetry on film. Cocteau’s vision remains unmatched, and when you see characters pass from one world to another through mirrors—via the simplest effects imaginable—you see true artistry that puts today’s CGI ‘wonders’ to shame. Few films are as magical, and none are more haunting than this monumental work.” The rest of the review is here: http://www.mountainx.com/movies/review/orpheus


About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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