2022 end of year film talk

First, I’m recovering from an operation and cannot use the new blog template at the moment. Second, the next few posts are going to be all over the place. Third visit the website, join the mikegallagherart tribe and comment. Get your film friends on board.

I watched Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus Trilogy while I was unable to get out of bed. Took advantage of the long spans of time. blood of the poet was stunning. Orpheus was fantastic. Then there is

The Testament of Orpheus

1960

Written & directed by Jean Cocteau. Cinematographer Roland Pontoizeau

After the film was over I had this wave of emotion, a warm fuzzy feeling, wash across me. I pondered the film for about a half hour. I believe I may have watched the best movie yet made.

I do not say this lightly. This is a tough movie that one needs to bring a lot of knowledge to understand and appreciate. Everything about this film was done on a master level. It is dense, emotional, entertaining, profound, visual, beautiful, confounding, and subtle.

The film is a journey Cocteau himself takes in a time between time. It is a part of the previous Orpheus film directly, using the same characters, manipulating others. Echos of visuals from Orpheus are present and often clever, driving a meaning or plot point that would be lacking context without knowing what it is.

Being a journey, a road to the End, Cocteau meets characters from his previous films, passes many of the artistic endeavors from his life, has famous friends around in cameos, and infuses dialogue with quotes that he has written. This movie is his life without being egotistical or flamboyant. These things simply are a part of him and therefore a part of his film.

Cocteau drawing a flower

My review of the film? I felt.

I felt rewarded for knowing what I know about Cocteau and the films I’ve seen. I felt robbed in recognizing I did not understand something fully because I have not seen all of his oeuvre. I felt contentment, ease, at being able to simply enjoy a film and not think about an edit or a shot failing, a narrative misstep , something out of place within the world. It is stunning,y consistent throughout.

All of Cocteau’s talents are utilized in the film. Nothing is wasted. A brief appearance of Picasso is not showy or meaningful outside of the role Picasso plays is just a role. Anyone could have performed it. One sees Picasso, recognizes him, and in a normal movie would feel the cringe of “here is my friend. See him. Aren’t I special.” Rather, Picasso is in a small group, two shots, no dialogue, inconsequential.

I need to see it again. I need to scrutinize it, study it. I do not think there are flaws. Have you seen it? Let’s discuss how we feel about the film.

© 2022, mikegallagherart. All rights reserved.

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