Award winning French remake of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, “Orpheus” (1950) directed by Jean Cocteau and starring Jean Marais, Maria Casares, Maria Dea, Francois Perier among others.
Completely different take from the Black Orpheus which i saw recently about which i wrote here https://vramonline.in/2021/03/05/black-orpheus/ . Here Orpheus (Jean Marais) is an acclaimed poet and Princess Death (Maria Casares) loves him. She creates a diversion outside the Poets Cafe in Paris and carts a perplexed Orpheus to her castle. Here he witnesses how Cegeste whom Princess had got killed comes back to life in a zombie way, becoming a slave to Princess.
Hertebise (Francois Perier) is sent alongwith Orpheus back to his house. There he listens to some radio messages which make no sense. Hertebise is there to help Orpheus but he falls in love with Eurydice (Maria Dea) who is the wife of Orpheus and expecting a child soon. Then Eurydice is killed by Princess and Orpheus follows her to bring her back. She is sent back with a condition that Orpheus should never look at her face again. If he does, she will disappear.
Interesting theme and very good production values including some superb special effects which are way ahead of time for a 1950 movie. Jean Cocteau has done a good job with script and direction, music by Georges Auric is spectacular. Cinematography by Nicolas Hayer is brilliant to say the least, it captures the essence of the film beautifully. Of the cast all the four mentioned above has done good roles to supplement the script. This film got a Fipresci in 1950.
What a brilliant, moving, gut wrenching, emotional Chadian movie “Abouna” (2002) directed by Mahamet Saleh Haroun. Its a magnificient movie in all its aspects. Two kids Tahir (Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa) and Amine (Hamza Moctar Aguid) wake up one morning in their little home to find that their dad has gone, missing. Distraught, these young kids go emotional. They still don’t know why their father has left and believe that he will come back. Their mom becomes vexed at their escapades but she does’nt realise their emotional anguish behind it and packs them off to a koranic school far far away. The kids are still awash with their feelings towards their father and are not able to adapt to the strict upbringings of the koranic school. Tragic unfolds shortly and much anguish and much depth of sadness follows as also love and happiness. The elder son Tahir meets a beautiful deaf mute girl Le Mere (Zara Haroun) in the school and both of them fall for each other. Everything about this movie is magnificent. The direction, acting by the kids and Zara, story, camera work, cinematography, sound, music (by Ali Farka Toure) has a Malian influence to it, its very beautiful. Chadian language has a middle eastern imprint to it. Both the kids have done a brilliant role as has Zara Haroun as the deaf mute girl. This is one must watch movie, if you are a true music connoisseur. The movie won a FIPRESCI award but was not accepted for nominations at the Oscars, which was such a pity.
Brief Encounter, a 1946 film starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard and directed by David Lean. It got Celia Johnson her nomination for the Oscars. An interesting story of two middle aged, married individuals falling in love unexpectedly and not able to do anything about it. It just happened just like that. Laura (Celia Johnson) is a happily married woman with two kids and a doting husband, and she always goes every Thursday to the townside by train and then she shops, changes her books in the library and goes to watch a movie, almost solo, and almost ritual like. She unexpectedly runs into Dr. Alec (Trevor Howard) who is a general practitioner and who also comes into town every Thursday to visit the hospital and relieve his friend of his duties. When Laura is standing too close to the tracks and one train passes by, some girt goes into her eyes, and Dr. comes to the rescue. One thing leads to another and in no time, their Thursday ritual gets more deeper and meaningful and they both realise that are in love with each other. Both also suffer from guilt because both have families to look forward to. Its a nice soft movie, not much of preaching going on, something that happened to two individuals without any hidden motive or malice behind it. Production values were quite good for that era. The background music by Sergei Rachmaninoff was quite exceptional.