Top International Films to Watch in Isolation: Orpheus
William Thornton writes on how Orpheus is the perfect piece of isolation escapism.
With everything being thrown at the human race right now, I think we could all use a little bit of escapism. How better to achieve this than by sitting down and watching Jean Cocteau’s Orphéus? The 1950 magical-realist classic depicts the fantastical events surrounding Jean Marais’ Orpheus, a French poet (modelled after the director himself) who gets tangled up in the affairs of the mythological underworld and its Princess. With Orpheus, Cocteau seamlessly blurs the line between reality and fantasy. The incredible special effects, that were revolutionary for the film’s time, still hold up today as examples of the extraordinary skill Cocteau possessed for creating a perfect blend of modernity and fantasy in his films.
Orpheus is an expertly-crafted film that is absolutely delightful to watch even now, seventy years after its release.
This modern-day retelling of the classical Orpheus myth is an absolutely charming film, and will surely delight any contemporary viewers with its avant-garde filmmaking and enthralling plot. The film centres around the titular poet becoming caught up in a love triangle between himself, his wife Eurydice, and the aforementioned Princess of the underworld (referred to as Death by many, despite Cocteau himself disregarding this analysis). Played by the great María Casares, the Princess travels between real-life France and the bleak and chiaroscuro underworld, seeing Orpheus falling in love with her after travelling to her realm to save his wife from death.
Orpheus is an expertly-crafted film that is absolutely delightful to watch even now, seventy years after its release. In my opinion, it is the perfect international film to watch stuck at home in isolation. Its fantastical world, and all the ingenious special effects Cocteau uses to portray it, will surely distract from the stress and anxiety that this virus has caused for us all.