Artikelnummer 249

THE BLOOD OF A POET (1930) + ORPHEUS (1949) *with switchable English subtitles *

Jean Cocteau, Jean Marais, François Périer, María Casares, Enrique Rivero, Elizabeth Lee Miller, Pauline Carton

The Blood of a Poet is divided into several sections: In section one, an artist sketches a face and is startled when its mouth starts moving. He rubs out the mouth, only to discover that it has transferred to the palm of his hand. After experimenting with the hand for a while and falling asleep, the artist awakens and places the mouth over the mouth of a female statue. In section two, the statue speaks to the artist, cajoling him into passing through a mirror. The mirror links to a hotel and the artist peers through several keyholes, witnessing such people as an opium smoker and a hermaphrodite. The artist is handed a gun and a disembodied voice instructs him how to shoot himself in the head. He shoots himself but does not die. The artist cries out that he has seen enough and returns through the mirror. He smashes the statue with a mallet. In the third section, some students are having a snowball fight. An older boy throws a snowball at a younger boy, but the snowball turns out to be a chunk of marble. The young boy dies from the impact. In the final section, a card sharp plays a game with a woman on a table set up over the body of the dead boy. A theatre party looks on. The card sharp extracts an Ace of hearts from the dead boy's breast pocket. The boy's guardian angel appears and absorbs the dead boy. He also removes the Ace of hearts from the card sharp's hand and retreats up a flight of stairs and through a door. Realizing he has lost, the card sharp commits suicide as the theatre party applauds. T he woman player transforms into the formerly smashed statue and walks off through the snow, leaving no footprints. In the film's final moments the statue is shown with a lyre. I ntercut through the film, surrealist images appear, including spinning wire models of human heads and rotating double-sided masks. And you thought the French were difficult to comprehend! (50 mins. Overall, in very good quality. In French, but English subtitled).

ORPHEE (Orpheus - 1949):

Set in contemporary Paris, the movie is a variation of the classic Greek myth of Orpheus. Here, Orpheus is a poet who becomes obsessed with Death (the Princess), while one of Death's associates, Heurtebise, entertains analogous unrequited love for Eurydice. They fall in love. Orpheus's wife, Eurydice, is killed by the Princess' henchmen and Orpheus goes after her into the Underworld. Although they have become dangerously entangled, the Princess sends Orpheus back out of the Underworld, to carry on his life with Eurydice. This diverges from the common classical account found in the Roman versions of the myth by Ovid and Virgil, where Eurydice is lost forever, but hearkens back to the earliest extant versions of the myth by the Greek poets Simonides and Ibycus in which Orpheus is successful in his quest.  (95 mins. In very good quality. In French with English subtitles).


play button