Jean Cocteau—perfectly suited to the visual medium of mirrors, dreams, and life after death—was a filmmaker for three decades, but his greatest engagement took place during the five years immediately following the end of the Second World War, a period which began with one masterpiece (LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE, 1945) and ended with another—ORPHÉE.
Cocteau’s perennial star Jean Marais takes the title role, and the film features François Périer, Edouard Dermithe, Juliette Greco, and a cameo by Jean-Pierre Melville (who directed the film of Cocteau’s novel LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES the same year.) Death is played by Maria Casarès—the great star of Bresson’s LES DAMES DU BOIS DE BOULOGNE—and her henchmen in wide leather cummerbunds attend to their errands on motorcycle.
ORPHÉE is dedicated to the artist and designer Christian Bérard, who died while the film was in pre-production.
The closest the cinema has ever got to poetry.” — Leslie Halliwell on ORPHÉE
ORPHÉE / ORPHEUS (1950, Jean Cocteau)—in 35 mm—Saturday, March 18 at 3 pm.
CINEFAMILY AT THE SILENT MOVIE THEATRE, 611 North Fairfax, Los Angeles.