Archive for the movie (cultural) international Category

MARIO VARGAS LLOSA first written novel 1963 “La ciudad y los perros” Peruvian Film 1985

Posted in Mario Vargas Llosa, movie (cultural) international, Peru on October 24, 2010 by Listen Recovery

1985 / Peru
Directed by Francisco J. Lombardi

132 min.
Pablo Serra
Gustavo Bueno
Luis Alvarez
Juan Manuel Ochoa
Eduardo Adrianzén
Liliana  Navarro
Miguel Iza
Alberto Isola
Jorge Rodríguez Paz
Ramón García
Lourdes Mindreau
Aristóteles  Picho
Antonio Vega
Isabel Duval
Ricardo Mejía

LA CIUDAD Y LOS PERROS / “The City and the Dogs” is the first novel by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize in Literature 2010. It was published in 1962, winner of the Biblioteca Breve Prize and the Spanish Critics Prize. The author originally titled “The Amityville hero.” Its importance is crucial because it showed a series of modernity in Peruvian narrative. Along with other works of various authors from Latin America, launched the so-called “Latin American Boom.” He has had multiple editions and been translated into dozens of languages. 

Vargas Llosa criticizes the way of life and military culture where certain values are enhanced (aggressiveness, courage, manhood, sexuality, etc.) Mutilate the personal development of boys of the boarding school. With a profusion of characters, the lives of these will crisscrossing, to weave the tapestry of the work. The crux of the story is focused around the theft of exam questions, which is betrayed by a cadet nicknamed the Slave, who later died, presumably by another cadet called El Jaguar. Another cadet, the Poet, tried unsuccessfully to sue the Jaguar. All cadets face each other and all with the school authorities, who are both officers. The epilogue of the novel which has been certified by the school for the protagonists: a way station that has formed or deformed, to integrate them into civil society.

The book recounts the experiences of boarding students of the Colegio Militar Leoncio Prado especially Alberto Fernandez “the Poet”, The Jaguar, Ricardo Arana “Slave”, the mountain Cava, The Boa, Curly, Brigadier Arróspide and black Vallano, who are in their senior year, the first section, and are eager to leave once the hole where they are. Of these, the most timid is Ricardo Arana, so always humiliated by his peers, thus receiving the nickname “The Slave” is the only one who can not adapt and feel alien to the whole school despite live day and night with their peers in the classroom and in the barracks (dorms). 

Every day the students get up early to train and receive their classes. Lt. Gamboa directs the formation and punishes the last three in line. The lifestyle of the inmates is heavy and humiliating for some. The story goes back to long ago, when Alberto Fernandez and his colleagues just entering the school to enroll in the junior year, and receive “baptism” by the fourth graders, which also involved the fifth. This “baptism” was degrading to treat them as a “dog”, a name with which they were known to students in lower grades. The Jaguar is the only one they can not “baptized”, as opposed to violence and even the match ends in a student’s room. As the “baptism” lasted a month, the Jaguar and the pupils of the same section decided to form a “Circle”, to defend and avenge the fourth-year students. The “Circle” is discovered by Lieutenant Gamboa and the entire section is punished. However, the Jaguar maintains the group, but reduced his three closest friends: the peasant Cava, Curly and Boa. All of them, including “deeds” reselling stolen uniforms, organize the entry of liquor and prohibited material in the School (erotic magazines, cigarettes, etc.) Carried dice and cards, and plan the theft of the responses reviews, the novel begins precisely at the time of the theft made chemistry exam. But the mountain Cava, who is charged with this mission, you are not careful and break the glass of a window, so that the “Circle” are afraid of being discovered. However, confident that all are discreet and do not betray anything. But that night, The Slave and Alberto are of imaginary (guards per shift) and find out the robbery.

Alberto and the Slave begin to make friends and have their secrets. The slave wanted to leave the weekend to visit a girl named Teresa, his neighbor, which he loved, but which have not yet dared to propose. Albert, known as the Poet, was sought by the cadets to write love letters to the love and erotic novels, and slave asks him to type a few letters. During the chemistry exam, a rolled paper with survey responses fall into the folder Alberto, but Gamboa discovers and directs the responsible stand. The Slave Gamboa up pleading guilty and confined him not to leave the weekend. That same Saturday Alberto decides to take her out to go where the famous “Golden Feet,” a harlot of the shred Huatica in the district of La Victoria, at the same time offering to bring a letter from the Slave to Teresa, who lived in the district Lynx. Alberto invited to the cinema to Teresa, and begins to fall for her, even though deep down he feels bad for his friend so lacking. Back home in Miraflores, to spend the night, not wanting to go where the “Golden Feet.”

As was feared, they discover the theft of exam questions in chemistry, and Lt. Gamboa confined to students who were imagined that night, that is, The Slave and Alberto, preventing him out until they found the person responsible. The slave, who already had a string of confinement, not take any more punishment and instead of “shoot at” (sneaking out of school), rather betray the guilty, Cava, this is broken down and removed. This punishment was terrible because the expelled student and lost all the years I had attended.

The Jaguar and others swear Circle discover the snitch and a well deserved punishment. Meanwhile, the slave gets permission to leave the school that afternoon and thus be able to visit Teresa. Alberto is jealous, because it is also in love with Teresa and escape from the school to advance to the Slave. When he gets where he learns that Teresa had not yet visited the Slave. Albert took the opportunity to declare his love and Teresa belongs. The slave does not come to visit her parents because Teresa from leaving home.

The college life seems to follow their normal routine, but then a serious incident occurs. During an output target practice, to a field outside the school, Lieutenant Gamboa formations makes climbing a small rise of ground, but at the time of the maneuver, a student collapses to the ground. Was the slave, no one notices until moments later when he discovered badly injured. One bullet, apparently by accident, he had hit his head.

The slave is brought to the school clinic but died shortly afterwards. His funeral was held at the whole school. School officials explained that the cadet was a victim of its own error, to tangle with the trigger of his gun and fell to the floor, shooting, in fact hide the proven fact that the shot had come back. Suspect an error in the handling and responsibility to Gamboa and the other officers for not being careful, but to avoid a scandal, maintaining the official version of the cadet error.

The whole section is shocked by the incident. Alberto does not believe the official version of death and begins to suspect it was an act of revenge by the Circle, so the accusation against serrano Cava. The fact that Jaguar is immediately behind the Slave when maneuvering makes it more convincing in his suspicions. Tormented by the idea out of school and goes where Teresa, who has the sad event, it confused by such news, simply answer that Ricardo knew very little, although it was his neighbor, and tries to comfort Alberto, asking what else was concerned. Alberto bother with Teresa, believing indifferent to the death of his friend, and they end up fighting. Al final farewell to Teresa Albert, with the feeling that you no longer see her again.

Lieutenant Alberto Gamboa visit to his home and accused of the murder of Slave Jaguar. At the same time, reveals trafficking of liquor and cigarettes, dice games and the theft of uniforms that the Circle made secretly in the stables. Gamboa is taking the case to a real investigation and for now shut the Jaguar starts in a dungeon for Prevention, and conducts an inspection of the stables, which verifies the statement made by Albert, but as for the charge of murder, this does not succeed for lack of concrete evidence. Alberto insists his complaint, then the highest ranking officer, a colonel called his office and demands to stop insisting otherwise his version would be easily refuted, since the inspection in the barracks also brought to light their high demand “erotic novels” which show his great imagination and no reliability as a witness. It would also be expelled for sexual pervert and no school would receive. Alberto declines over time and does not insist in its complaint. At present it is confined in the jail where he was the Jaguar, waiting for the order of the Lieutenant to send it back to the barn. The Jaguar and Alberto discussed. At all times the Jaguar denies being the murderer of the Slave, Alberto, meanwhile, confesses that it was he who was charged with the lieutenant. Both cling to blows, taking the brunt Alberto. After passing through nursing, returning to the block.

The whole section, headed by Brigadier Arróspide, believes that Jaguar had ratted him liquor and cigarettes, and turn against them, several students around him and beat him brutally. However, the Jaguar reveals no Alberto as the real snitch, but he feels very bad to be treated well by their peers who had once taught to combat abuse of the elderly. For his part, Lt. Gamboa is disappointed in himself. The incident makes him fall into disgrace with his superiors, who decide to send to Juliaca. Before his departure, Jaguar delivers a letter, confessing that he killed the slave, believing that with this confession, the lieutenant would be rehabilitated, but he replied that it is too late because the Army had already decided that the death of Ricardo had was accidental and would not change one iota to avoid a scandal, the only thing Jaguar is asked to change and take something out of what happened.

Later, after leaving school, Alberto, who has already forgotten about Teresa, is preparing to go to the United States as the memories of Colegio Leoncio Prado are becoming more distant, impersonal. Meet a new member of his neighborhood, Marcela and falls for her. On the other hand, the Jaguar gets a job and meets his childhood sweetheart, Teresa (the same that was fleeting love slave and Alberto), whom he marries, thus changing the image that until then the reader Jaguar had made, making it a more complex character than expected. The uniqueness of the story is that throughout it is sandwiched Jaguar history before entering the Military Academy without mentioning his nickname, and only at the end of the story the reader little attentive to the details of the story he learns that it is the same.

Mario Vargas Llosa


Posted in Brasil music, download single song, movie (cultural) international, OST on March 16, 2010 by Listen Recovery

01. Abertura (download mp3)

03. Sebastiao (download mp3)

“DEUS E O DIABO NA TERRA DO SOL” Film by Glauber Rocha, 1964, music by Sergio Ricardo

Posted in Brasil Cinematography, movie (cultural) international on March 16, 2010 by Listen Recovery

Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol, translit. God and the Devil in the Land of Sun) is a 1964 Brazilian film directed and written by Glauber Rocha. Considered Rocha’s masterpiece, the movie stars Othon Bastos, Maurício do Valle, Yoná Magalhães, and Geraldo Del Rey. It belongs to the Cinema Novo movement, addressing the socio-political problems of 1960s Brazil. The film is being released on DVD in North America for the first time by Koch-Lorber Films.

The film starts in the 1940s, during another drought in the sertão, when ranch hand Manuel (Geraldo Del Rey) is fed up with his situation. His boss tries to cheat him of his earnings and Manuel kills him, fleeing with his wife, Rosa (Yoná Magalhães). Now an outlaw, Manuel joins up with a self-proclaimed saint who condones violence and preaches disturbing doctrines. It is now Rosa who turns to killing and the two are on the move once again. And so it goes, the two running from one allegiance to another, following the words of others as they attempt to find a place in their ruthless land. Blending mysticism, religion, and popular culture in this symbolic and realistic drama, Rocha insists that rather than follow the external and obscure dogmas of culture and religion, man must determine his path by his own voice.

Glauber Rocha was 25 years old when he wrote and began to direct the film.
In the scene where we see Manuel (Geraldo Del Rey) carrying a huge stone over his head while climbing Monte Santo on his knees, Del Rey insisted on carrying a real stone that weighted over 20 kilos – something that worried Rocha. After the shooting, Del Rey had to take 2 days off, due to fatigue.
During the dubbing of the sound, Othon Bastos performed three voices. Besides dubbing himself as Corisco, he performed the voice for Lampião (whom Corisco had “incorporated”) and also dubbed Sebastião, the black God, even though Lídio Silva played the character on screen.


The film was nominated for the Golden Palm at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival, but failed to win.  It has influenced major filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Sergio Leone (Henry Fonda’s duster in Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West was inspired by the long coat worn by the character Antônio das Mortes in Rocha’s film).


Directed by Glauber Rocha

Produced by Luiz Augusto Mendes & Luiz Paulino Dos Santos

Written by Glauber Rocha, Walter Lima Jr. &Paulo Gil Soares


Geraldo Del Rey
Yoná Magalhães
Othon Bastos

Music by Sérgio Ricardo & Heitor Villa-Lobos

Cinematography Waldemar Lima

Editing by Rafael Justo Valverde

Distributed by Koch-Lorber Films (North America)

Release date(s) July 10, 1964 (Brazil) September 25, 1971 (U.S.)

Running time 120 min. Country Brazil Language Portuguese

Orfeo Negro (vintage poster)

Posted in Brasil music, movie (cultural) international, vintage posters/fliers/memorabilia on March 2, 2010 by Listen Recovery

Link to previews blogs about the film ORFEO NEGRO

Pedro Navaja: written by Ruben Blades / Mexico film w/ Andres Garcia, words in Español

Posted in Latin Sounds, movie (cultural) international, Panama Icon, Ruben Blades Stories, salsa icon, video archives, vintage posters/fliers/memorabilia on February 3, 2010 by Listen Recovery

the movie

Pedro Navaja song was written by Prof. RUBEN BLADES, Panama.

Pedro Navaja

1984 (México) 1984 (Mexico)
Actores: Andrés García, SAsha Montenegro, Maribel Guardia, Sergio Goyri
Director: Alfonso Rosas Priego
Música: Ruben Blades, Ernesto Fondo
Fotografía: Agustin Lara
Duración aprox.: 83 min.

Basada en la canción de Rubén Blades “Pedro Navaja”; la descripción no puede ser más explícita, Pedro Navaja matón de esquina, que cuida con esmero de las bellas mujeres por la que se deja querer a cambio de un jugoso porcentaje de su negocio callejero. Based on the song by Rubén Blades “Pedro Navaja,” the description could not be more explicit, Pedro Navaja corner thug, who cares lovingly for the beautiful women laying want to leave in exchange for a hefty percentage of your business street . Pero como suele suceder, Pedro Navaja tiene tantos buenos amigos como acérrimos enemigos a quienes molesta que se pasee por la avenida alumbrando con su diente de oro y estarán dispuestos a apagar su brillo. But as usual, Pedro Navaja has so many good friends and bitter enemies who resent walks on the street shining his gold teeth and be ready to turn your brightness.

Los in Civilization: THE ACRE TRIBE of THE AMAZON (Brazil/Peru)

Posted in Amazon Preservation, Brasil, Listen Recovery, movie (cultural) international, new blog intro, Peru, South America on January 3, 2010 by Listen Recovery

Click on photo to (enlarge) (videos)

Uncontacted Indians of the Envira who are in the Terra Indigena Kampa e Isolados do Envira, Acre state, Brazil. These Indians live in six different places, each community has six communal houses.

Brazil’s government agreed to release stunning photos of Amazon Indians firing arrows at an airplane so that the world can better understand the threats facing one of the few tribes still living in near-total isolation from civilization, officials said Friday.

Anthropologists have known about the group for some 20 years but released the images now to call attention to fast-encroaching development near the Indians’ home in the dense jungles near Peru.

“We put the photos out because if things continue the way they are going, these people are going to disappear,” said Jose Carlos Meirelles, who coordinates government efforts to protect four “uncontacted” tribes for Brazil’s National Indian Foundation.

Shot in late April and early May, the foundation’s photos show about a dozen Indians, mostly naked and painted red, wielding bows and arrows outside six grass-thatched huts.

Meirelles told The Associated Press in a phone interview that anthropologists know next to nothing about the group, but suspect it is related to the Tano and Aruak tribes.

Brazil’s National Indian Foundation believes there may be as many as 68 “uncontacted” groups around Brazil, although only 24 have been officially confirmed.

Anthropologists say almost all of these tribes know about western civilization and have sporadic contact with prospectors, rubber tappers and loggers, but choose to turn their backs on civilization, usually because they have been attacked.

“It’s a choice they made to remain isolated or maintain only occasional contacts, but these tribes usually obtain some modern goods through trading with other Indians,” said Bernardo Beronde, an anthropologist who works in the region

Brazilian officials once tried to contact such groups. Now they try to protectively isolate them.

The four tribes monitored by Meirelles include perhaps 500 people who roam over an area of about 1.6 million acres (630,000 hectares).

He said that over the 20 years he has been working in the area, the number of “malocas,” or grass-roofed huts, has doubled, suggesting that the policy of isolation is working and that populations are growing.

Remaining isolated, however, gets more complicated by the day.

Loggers are closing in on the Indians’ homeland — Brazil’s environmental protection agency said Friday it had shut down 28 illegal sawmills in Acre state, where these tribes are located. And logging on the Peruvian border has sent many Indians fleeing into Brazil, Meirelles said.

“On the Brazilian side we don’t have logging yet, but I’d like to emphasize the ‘yet,’” he said.

A new road being paved from Peru into Acre will likely bring in hordes of poor settlers. Other Amazon roads have led to 30 miles (50 kilometers) of rain forest being cut down on each side, scientists say.

While “uncontacted” Indians often respond violently to contact — Meirelles caught an arrow in the face from some of the same Indians in 2004 — the greater threat is to the Indians.

“First contact is often completely catastrophic for “uncontacted” tribes. It’s not unusual for 50 percent of the tribe to die in months after first contact,” said Miriam Ross, a campaigner with the Indian rights group Survival International. “They don’t generally have immunity to diseases common to outside society. Colds and flu that aren’t usually fatal to us can completely wipe them out.”

Survival International estimates about 100 tribes worldwide have chosen to avoid contact, but said the only truly uncontacted tribe is the Sentinelese, who live on North Sentinel island off the coast of India and shoot arrows at anyone who comes near.

Last year, the Metyktire tribe, with about 87 members, was discovered in a densely jungled portion of the 12.1-million-acre (4.9-million-hectare) Menkregnoti Indian reservation in the Brazilian Amazon, when two of its members showed up at another tribe’s village.

More than half the world’s 100 uncontacted tribes live in Brazil or Peru and campaigners say many face

threats to their land from illegal logging.

TODOS VUELVEN: con Virgilio Marti & Ruben Blades “CROSSOVER DREAMS” Ruben’s 1st film

Posted in movie (cultural) international, Ruben Blades Stories, video archives on October 10, 2009 by Listen Recovery

Los Viajes Del Viento / The Wind Journeys (Colombia) director Ciro Guerra.

Posted in Colombia, movie (cultural) international on September 30, 2009 by Listen Recovery



wikipedia/ The Wind Journeys

Cannes Film Festival (France)

Fermin Los Viajes Del Viento


Colombia’s diverse and magnificent landscapes play a central role in Ciro Guerra’s second feature film, The Wind Journeys. The film tells the story of an accordion player, Ignacio Carrillo (Marciano Martínez), who has just experienced the sudden and traumatic death of his wife. Deeply depressed, he embarks on a quest through Colombia’s northern terrain to return his accordion to its rightful owner, his mentor. He is followed by young Fermín (Yull Núñez), who is determined to become Ignacio’s apprentice, despite Ignacio’s obvious lack of interest. Through this out-of-the-ordinary pair, Guerra creates an evocative homage to the charms of his home country and the music of its celebrated accordion players.
Although Ignacio vows never to play the instrument again, he eventually relents during a dramatic duel of song and verse in one of the villages he and Fermín pass through on their journey. A highlight of the film, the accordion duel is so dramatic and unexpected that it simply has to be experienced. The players are composing on the spot, making up verse as they go along and trying to out-rhyme one another. The music becomes more and more intense, and the back-and-forth drama continues until one musician is forced to submit. Electric and climactic, the sequence is one of many exhilarating moments in The Wind Journeys.


Ignacio Carrillo (Marciano Martinez) has spent most of his life as a juglar, or minstrel. Now in his twilight years and still mourning his wife’s recent death, Ignacio vows never to play the accordion again, and sets out on his donkey to return the instrument to his mentor in northern Colombia. Tagging along for the trip is rootless, restless teen Fermin Morales (Yull Nunez), who longs to apprentice himself to Ignacio and learn to play the accordion — and later, the drum, though he demonstrates little talent for either instrument.

Though he’s too taciturn and withdrawn to be openly hostile toward his fellow traveler, Ignacio makes it amply clear that Fermin’s presence is unwelcome. Guerra’s script has its share of familiar elements — Fermin, no surprise, is in need of a father figure — but its most remarkable quality may be its fundamental honesty. The scribe never tries to force a bond between the two characters; nor does he take the easy route of supplying Fermin with latent musical abilities.

Yet despite the absence of conventional payoffs, drama and suspense are hardly in short supply. A drawn-out sequence in which Ignacio decides to break his vow, as he’s lured into a battle of escalating one-upmanship with an arrogant accordionist, proves enormously satisfying, and the story takes a believably harrowing turn when Ignacio is robbed and it falls to Fermin to recover the stolen instrument. The tale is enriched by myriad references to sorcery and other mystical undercurrents, the most resonant being an alleged curse on Ignacio’s distinctively crafted accordion.

Given little dialogue beyond his singing performances, gifted non-pro Martinez strongly inhabits a figure as tough and unyielding as the landscape, though in the grip of an unarticulated sorrow; Nunez has piercing moments as a young man trying to make something of himself. Local side characters, speaking a wide range of dialects, are well inhabited but generally portrayed as antagonistic.

As helmed by Guerra (avoiding the sophomore slump after his prize-winning 2004 debut, “La sombra del caminante”), “The Wind Journeys” unfolds at a slow but steady pace commensurate with that of its two leads, offering gorgeous but never unnecessary stops and detours along the way. Whether framing a hut on a cloud-wrapped hilltop or the cracked, parched ground of a desert, Paulo Andres Perez’s widescreen compositions often dwarf the characters in their sheer scale and grandeur, offering up the region’s desolate beauty as an object worthy of endless contemplation.

Ivan “Tito” Ocampo’s score subtly supports the film’s musical performances.


Camera (color, widescreen), Paulo Andres Perez; editor, Ivan Wild; music, Ivan “Tito” Ocampo; production designer, Angelica Perea; set decorator, Ramses Benjumea; costume designer, Camila Olarte; sound (Dolby Digital), Jose Jairo Florez; sound designer, Ranko Paukovic; casting, Juan Pablo Felix. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard), May 21, 2009. Running time: 120 MIN.


Marciano Martinez (Ignacio)

Yull Nuñez (Fermin)

Rosendo Romero, Beto Rada, Guillermo Arzuaga, Jose Luis Torres, Agustin Nieves, Erminia Martinez, Justo Valdez, Carmen Molina, Juan Bautista Martinez. (Spanish, Bantu, Wayunayky, Ikn dialogue)







Ciro Guerra


was born in Río de Oro, Colombia, and studied film and television at the National University of Colombia. After making several short films, he directed his feature debut, The Wandering Shadows (01). The Wind Journeys (09) is his second feature film.

“The rugged majesty of the Colombian landscape forms a spectacular widescreen backdrop for a simple, bittersweet tale of regret and companionship in The Wind Journeys. Awash in scenic vistas and infused with a touch of the supernatural, this beautifully judged two-hander tells the story of an aging accordion player and the young wannabe musician he’s reluctantly allowed to accompany him on his long trek north.”

Fest travel will take writer-director Ciro Guerra’s second feature far and wide, particularly in Latin American territories, and smart, venturesome distribs should be able to capitalize on the film’s abundant visual and emotional rewards.

Justin Chang on Ciro Guerra’s  Los Viajes del viento / The Wind Journeys. Variety



NORTE DE COLOMBIA (on location)

BATATA (brief story) en español





video page: Los Viajes Del Viento

Black Orpheus / “Orfeu Negro”: The Movie 1959 music by Vinicius De Moraes (brief intro part 1) extracted from Wikipedia

Posted in Brasil music, Listen Recovery, movie (cultural) international, South America, video archives, vintage posters/fliers/memorabilia on June 6, 2009 by Listen Recovery

original movie poster 1959

Original Movie Poster


Black Orpheus / (Orfeu Negro)

Directed by     Marcel Camus

Produced by     Sacha Gordine

Written by     Marcel Camus / Vinicius de Moraes / Jacques Viot

Starring     Breno Mello / Marpessa Dawn / Lourdes de Oliveira / Léa Garcia

Music by     Luiz Bonfá / Antonio Carlos Jobim

Cinematography     Jean Bourgoin

Editing by     Andrée Feix

Distributed by    GAGA Communications

Release date(s)     June 12, 1959 (France)


Black Orpheus 4

Black Orpheus (Portuguese: Orfeu Negro) is a 1959 film made in Brazil by French director Marcel Camus. It is based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, which is an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, setting it in the modern context of Rio de Janeiro during the Carnaval. The film was an international co-production between production companies in Brazil, France and Italy.

The film is particularly renowned for its soundtrack by bossa nova legend Antonio Carlos Jobim, featuring songs such as “Manhã de Carnaval” (written by Luiz Bonfá) and “A felicidade” that were to become bossa nova classics. According to Time magazine, it played a crucial role in the life of Ann Dunham, the mother of American president Barack Obama. [1]

Black Orpheus won the Palme d’Or at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival[2] as well as the 1960 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the 1960 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film (in those awards the film was credited as a French production; only in the 1961 BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film was Brazil credited together with France and Italy).

In 1999, the film was essentially remade as Orfeu by Carlos Diegues, this time with a soundtrack featuring contemporary Brazilian pop singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso.

The movie opens with images of white Greek statues that explode to reveal black men dancing samba to drums in a favela. Orpheus (Breno Mello) is a trolley driver in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as well as a playboy. Although engaged to be wed, he does not seem very enthusiastic about the concept of marriage and spends the majority of the film trying to avoid his fiancée, Mira (Lourdes de Oliveira).

The film begins with Orpheus and his fiancée going to get a marriage license. The clerk at the courthouse makes reference to the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, causing Orpheus’s fiancée to get jealous and assume that there is another woman in his life. After they get the license, Mira agrees to loan Orpheus the money to buy her own ring because Orpheus wants to get his guitar out of the pawn shop for the carnival. When Orpheus gets home, he finds that his neighbor Serafina’s (Léa Garcia) cousin named Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn) has been visiting. Death (the man in the skeleton suit) is after Eurydice. This is shown in a scene in which the man chases her down and Orpheus gallantly goes to her rescue.

Orpheus, upon seeing Eurydice, wins her graces by playing her a song on his guitar. He is impressed upon her telling him the story of Orpheus and Eurydice and letting him know that she knows he knows of it also because of the song which he had just been playing. Orpheus is a pleasant break from the insanity of Carnival, which seems to agitate Eurydice’s already frightened state. The two of them fall in love, yet are constantly on the run from both Mira and Death, both of whom wish to kill Eurydice.

On the day of Carnival, Eurydice dresses in Serafina’s costume in order help Serafina spend more time with her navy man; the costume keeps Eurydice’s face concealed. During the festival, Orpheus uses every excuse to be able to dance with Eurydice (who is supposed to be Serafina) rather than with Mira. He consistently tells Mira to get back to her place.

Eventually, Eurydice’s identity is revealed and she is forced once again to run for her life from both Mira and Death. This time she is not so lucky and is killed accidentally by Orpheus in his own trolley station when he turns the power on and electrocutes her. Death says “Now she’s mine” before knocking Orpheus out. Despite the obvious fact that she is dead and the less obvious fact that he is the one who actually killed her, Orpheus looks for Eurydice within the Bureau of Missing Persons. The janitor there tells him that the place holds only papers and that no people would be found there. The illiterate janitor asks Orpheus if he can read, then tells him his reading ability will not help him find his love. The janitor, taking pity on Orpheus, takes him down the stairs and to the place of a Macumba ritual, a regional form of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé.

At the gate, there is a dog named Cerberus, after the three-headed dog of Hades in Greek mythology. At this ritual, Orpheus is able to channel the spirit of Eurydice through the body of an old woman. Orpheus calls out to her and asks to see her, but Eurydice begs him not to look toward the voice, lest he lose her forever. When he looks back to see Eurydice, her spirit leaves the woman and he loses her forever (This is in direct correlation to the Greek myth in which Orpheus is able to save his love Eurydice but loses her forever when he looks back at her).

Orpheus wanders in mourning for the remainder of the film. His wanderings take him to the City Morgue, where he retrieves Eurydice’s body. He carries her in his arms across town and up the hill toward his home. (The Greek Orpheus also wandered around after Eurydice’s death, refusing all other women until he is killed by Thracian Maenads in the heat of Dionysian ritual.) Like the Greek Orpheus, this Orpheus is killed by a group of apparently crazed women. As we see Orpheus’ and Serafina’s shack burning (a fire set by Mira, no doubt), Mira flings a stone that hits him in the head and knocks him over a cliff to his death as he carried Eurydice’s limp body.

Orfeu Negro  Marcel Camus Black Orpheus Criterion PDVD_007-01

There are two children, Benedito and Zeca, who follow Orpheus around throughout the plot. They believe that it is Orpheus’s guitar that causes the sun to rise in the morning. After Orpheus death, Benedito insists that Zeca pick up the guitar and play so that the sun may rise again. Zeca plays, and the sun does rise. A little girl comes by, gives Zeca a single flower and the film ends with the three of them dancing.

movie shot


writers and composers of the movie