Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Black Orpheus, Babylon, Death, and the Descent Into Hell

Last night I watched "Black Orpheus" again. I first watched it in 1958 with a friend who died early. He wanted to stay and watch the newsreel, but I was so near to tears, I had to leave the theater.

Only Europeans would have the nerve and the imagination to tell the classic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in the setting of Carnival Time in Rio. The Greek legend is blended into this setting, the story told in Portuguese, with English subtitles, and it repeats the tragic tale of doomed lovers. A guitar takes the place of the lyre, but it's all there, even the guardian dog of hell. Some of the songs have become bossa nova classics, but the film has almost disappeared.

The film, but not the myth. Churches today are drenched in it. Orpheus has reappeared as a type of Christ descending into the underworld in the "harrowing of hell" modern myth. If Christians only knew how pagan are their beliefs and practices, they would repent of them.

I cried last night at the end of this beautiful movie, even more tragic than its producers knew. The Pride of Life is ended by death, as always in this world. The story of Orpheus will not go away, neither will its sadness.

Watch the full movie Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus).

No comments:

Post a Comment