FILM: “Black Orpheus” Dir. Marcel Camus (1959)

I first stumbled upon this film when I was 14. At that time in my life, I spent every waking moment exploring worlds that were not readily available to me due to geographical, financial and circumstantial reasons. Basically, I didn’t want being broke and living in the hood to box me in. I’d spend hours in magazine stores, record shops, exploring new territories, watching TV and going to the local independent theatre. One night, after watching hours of IFC, “Black Orpheus” made its way on to my television.

I was immediately overwhelmed with emotion. First, I was astounded by the images. Magnificent color matched with exotic locations. I was equally excited to see a film that was a cast of all ranges of brown people. This is also about the same time I got confused. I couldn’t make out the language they were speaking. The people looked familiar to me…maybe they were Dominican or Trinidadian, but none of them were speaking anything familiar or expected like Spanish. Mind you, this was before the internet is what it is now so it took me a long time to learn that they were in Rio De Janeiro and that they were speaking Portugese.



Directed by French Director Marcel Camus, the film is a take on the play  Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes which is an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. Camus’s version sets the story in modern context of a favela in Rio de Janeiro during the Carnaval.

I urge you to watch this film, it’s remarkable and a classic beauty. It definitely helped spark my own directorial dreams as a youngster and I can’t be thankful enough for ever finding it.

Watch this “Trailer” I found on YouTube.Com. It’s super long for a trailer in my opinion, but you should still watch it…

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