France, 1950 (Jean Cocteau; 1h 52m)

Denounced in the sixties, French cinema of the fifties, I learnt, produced plenty of brilliant innovation and reflected an international influence – despite pre-dating the new wave.

A poet in love with Death follows his unhappy wife into the underworld.


“Orpheus” shows Cocteau’s taste for magic and enchantment; he uses simple but dramatic special effects and trick shots to show his characters passing into the world of death by stepping through mirrors, and when he wants a character to spring back to life, he simply runs the film backward. He weaves his effects so lightly into the story that after a time they aren’t tricks at all, but simply the conditions of his mythical world.

Roger Ebert

Date: Mon. 22/06
Time: 20:30
Source: Criterion / Amazon Prime
In the Square: Yes

Date: June 22nd, 2020
Time: 8:30pm
Finishes at: 10:10pm