The second of four in our series of great Black Cinema is Black Orpheus (1959) by French director Marcel Camus. This retelling of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice takes place in a Brazilian slum (favela) during Carnival and features an all black Brazilian cast. This is a gorgeous film, full of color and life and with the infectiously sensual music of Samba and Bossa Nova. American movie goers had neither seen or heard anything like it! Here’s the opening theme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KznlNRyjUg
Black Orpheus was Barack Obama’s mother’s favorite movie and what he wrote about it in Dreams From My Father pretty much sums up its appeal to Americans of the 50s:
“I suddenly realized that the depiction of the childlike blacks I was now seeing on the screen, the reverse image of [Joseph] Conrad’s dark savages, was what my mother had carried with her to Hawaii all those years before, a reflection of the simple fantasies that had been forbidden to a white, middle-class girl from Kansas, the promise of another life: warm, sensual, exotic, different”
Black Orpheus won the Palme d’Or at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, the 1960 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the 1960 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film and the 1961 BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
$5 suggested donation at the door
In Portuguese with English sub-titles
Discussion will follow
Light snacks included