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The Testament of Orpheus

Posted by martinteller on July 8, 2009

Six years ago, after being completely won over by La Belle et la Bête, I ran out and purchased the “Jean Cocteau’s Orphic Trilogy” box set.  I didn’t care much for the first two films and didn’t bother to check out this one before selling it.  But since it’s on the TSPDT list (although way down at the bottom) I’m finally giving it a go.  My reaction to this one isn’t much better.  In some ways it’s an inventive follow-up to Orphée.  But Cocteau, who also stars in this one, is egotistical, not as clever as he thinks he is (goddamn, how many lame “running the film backwards” tricks can you stuff into 80 minutes?) and takes himself too seriously.  The film fares best when it takes a light-hearted surrealistic approach, as in the opening “time travel” scenes or the autograph-eating statue.  When Cocteau starts going off about being an artist and a poet, you just want to smack him.  His narcissism rivals Chaplin in Limelight.  The most tolerable film of the trilogy, but that’s not saying much.  Look for appearances by Brigitte Bardot, Pablo Picasso, Yul Brenner and Jean-Pierre Leaud.  Rating: 6


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