Sunday, September 30, 2007

Orphée the movie

I rented Orphée, the 1950 film by Jean Cocteau, from Netflix to see what I had missed. The music in the film is by George Auric, one of Les Six. It was recommended to watch the film before seeing the opera, but that seemed like cheating to me. The opera should have to stand on its own.

The main thing missing from the opera is La Princess's large black Rolls Royce. The bodies being taken to hell are placed in it, and Heurtebise is its driver. The radio with which Orphée becomes obsessed is in the car. This explains the obsessive listening that goes on throughout the opera. When Euridice is looked at by Orphée and sent immediately back to hell, it is in the rear view mirror of the car. The more obscure parts of the plot are clearer in the film.

The gimmick of the film is that the mirrors are used by the figures from the afterlife to enter into our world. This mirror effect was used very imaginatively in the opera.

It is a wonderful film, and I can see its attraction for Philip Glass. All of the love parts are left in.

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