ORFEU NEGRO in O-town

by Matthew Curtis
October 5, 2006 4:59 AM
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Tuesday night marked the successful return of the Latin American Cultural Festival of Orlando to Enzian. A multi-week event throughout September and October involving many of the cultural arts, the festival is produced by the Latin American Studies Department at the University of Central Florida and features concerts, films, plays, art exhibits, dance recitals, poetry readings, and lectures.

Carlos Sorin's gently satirical road movie set in Argentina, INTIMATE STORIES, was Enzian's selection for the inaugural event in 2005, and this year we were thrilled to feature one of the recently struck 35mm prints of Marcel Camus' 1959 classic, BLACK ORPHEUS. Winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the 1960 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, this rich and lyrical updating of the Orpheus and Eurydice legend set in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval time is one of the true classics in the Portuguese language to have an impact in the States. Even the soundtrack by Luis Bonfa and Antonio Carlos Jobim was influential, introducing much of America to the world of bossa nova music.

In fact, when I was a wee freshman in high school way back in early 70's Miami, BLACK ORPHEUS was certainly one of the films that I cut my arthouse teeth on at the Grove Cinema. The film was so exotic and wonderful that I always looked forward to that car trip from North Miami Beach down to Coral Gables, and without a doubt this Brazilian love story was instrumental in feeding my passion for foreign films and "alternative" cinema. Apparently I wasn't the only one...

--Matthew

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