Orpheus (French: Orphée) is a 1950 French film directed by Jean Cocteau and starring Jean Marais. This film is the central part of Cocteau's Orphic Trilogy, which consists of 詩人の血 (1930), オルフェ (1950) and オルフェの遺言 私に何故と問い給うな (1960). The trilogy has been released as a DVD boxed set by The Criterion Collection.
Throughout Orpheus , Cocteau uses very simple special effects and trick shots to show his characters passing into the world of death and back to life: They do so by stepping through mirrors, or else the film is reversed.
Cocteau adds many elements from the culture of his time. For example, the messengers of the Princess of Death are grim, leather-clad motorcyclists. The underworld is represented by buildings in France which remained in ruins after World War II, and Orpheus's trial in the underworld is presented in the manner of an inquest held by officials of the German occupation attempting to discover members of the French resistance. At the very end of the film, the Princess and Heurtebise are prisoners, brought forward to face the tribunal, ominously elevated on a pedestal above them.
Most notably, the element of the myth in which Orpheus looks back at Eurydice as she is being led out of the underworld, exactly what he was told not to do and which causes him to lose her, is represented by Orpheus happening to glance at Eurydice in the rear-view mirror of a car.
In popular culture
A film still was used for the cover of 1983 Smiths single, "This Charming Man". Parking, a film from 1985, was a remake of it.
The clip for a-ha's Take on me was partly inspired by this movie.
Sound bites of the messages on the radio are sampled in DJ Culture by Pet Shop Boys and by Tilt in the track 'Seduction of Orpheus'.
The film is referenced explicitly in Canto IV of Geoffrey Hill's long poem "The Orchards of Syon".
Ranked #84 in Empire magazine's "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema" in 2010
Source : Wikipedia