HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Testament of Orpheus, The Poetry Corner
Year: 1960
Director: Jean Cocteau
Stars: Jean Cocteau, Edouard Dermithe, Henri Crémieux, Daniel Gélin, Jean Marais, María Casares, Charles Aznavour, Yul Brynner, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Brigitte Morisan, François Périer, Alice Heyliger, Pablo Picasso
Genre: FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The poet, Jean Cocteau, has discovered a way to travel through time, and sees this as a method of finding meaning in his life and art. He realises he must visit a Professor (Henri Crémieux) who is well aware of the facts and theories of existence and will understand this jumping through the centuries that the poet is playing out, but he has to find a way of settling on the Professor at the correct stage of his life, or else he won't be able to assist. Therefore it takes a lot of trial and error - one error being turning up at the man's infancy and scaring his nurse into dropping him, which has health repercussions - until they can have a proper conversation...

While France was becoming known on the international cinema scene for its groundbreaking New Wave of fresh talent, supposedly blowing away the past like a strong breeze scattering dry leaves, one of those artists of the old school made his valedictory film, a meditation on his life's work. It was pretty far from the likes of Jean-Luc Godard on the surface, with its spiralling fantasy world which spoke to nobody but those who followed Cocteau, and Cocteau himself of course, but in its own way it was as experimental as the new blood - it's just that it harkened back to old experiments.

So if you've seen the previous films he made, works such as Blood of a Poet (Cocteau here takes a similar journey through a "wonderland" of his own devising) or Orphée (characters from that film accompany him on his quest for meaning), then you're probably going to be in a more advantageous position to see this than those who have not. He doesn't make many allowances for non-believers, but why, the film seems to say, would you be watching this if you were not interested, fascinated even, in me in the first place? And if nothing else, you get an insight into the frame of mind of the creative soul.

As you can imagine, this was a very personal film, but Cocteau avoids becoming too stuffy. His tricks are overused, however, as for a while it seems not a minute will go by without the footage being played backwards or someone appearing or disappearing with a tasteful fade. Sometimes, however, even these simple effects can be quite captivating, as when the poet puts a flower back together from bits and pieces left in a pot and you can see the pleasure he took in the ability of cinema to pull off such images, apparently effortlessly.

The poet encounters figures from mythology as he goes about his search, and you can grow somewhat jaded with a feature which comes across as the work of a self-obsessive, but Cocteau acknowledges that the artist can only bring himself to his subjects, essentiallly making each of his creations a self-portrait of sorts. Yet from the start, which makes light humour from him, he is an endearing character and you can understand why he was regarded in such high esteem; you may not go with him on his theories, but he displays a keen mind even at this stage, and as a farewell to the world he hopes to live on in through his work even if his body is no longer with us, The Testament of Orpheus has value. And if you grow tired of Cocteau's navel-gazing, at least you can spot the celebrities he had assembled in bit parts. Music by Georges Auric and Martial Solal.

Aka: Le Testament d'Orphée.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2350 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: