“A film is a petrifying source of thought. It brings dead acts to life. It makes it possible to give apparent reality to the unreal.”
A time-traveling 18th century poet (Jean Cocteau) emerges in the 20th century and interacts with key figures from his previous film Orpheus (1950) — including the poet Cegeste (Edouard Dermithe) and the Princess of Death (Maria Casales).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- French Films
- Jean Cocteau Films
- Time Travel
- Yul Brynner Films
Jean Cocteau’s swan song was this installment in his “Orphic trilogy,” following The Blood of a Poet (1930) and Orpheus (1950). Unfortunately, it’s simply a rambling, self-absorbed affair, showcasing Cocteau’s obsession with being artistically “disobedient” and having a lasting cultural impact. In addition to bringing back characters from Orpheus (gee, they must be enduring characters if they suddenly appear again here!):
… Cocteau seems to want to show off how many cinematic friends and influences he has, featuring additional cameos by Jean-Pierre Léaud:
… Pablo Picasso:
… and Yul Brynner:
Sadly, there’s little point to any of it; one hopes Cocteau at least enjoyed the process.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Some clever cinematographic moves
No; you can skip this one unless you’re a diehard Cocteau fan.
One thought on “Testament of Orpheus (1960)”
First viewing. Agreed; skip it – unless you’re a Cocteau completist. ~ but, even if you are, this film requires quite a bit of patience. It does ultimately feel pointless.
Still… I can see where David Lynch might love it.