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Testament of Orpheus (1960)

Le testament d'Orphée, ou ne me demandez pas pourquoi! (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography | 18 February 1960 (France)
The Poet looks back over his life and work, recalling his inspirations and obsessions.

Director:

Jean Cocteau

Writer:

Jean Cocteau
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jean Cocteau ... Himself - the Poet
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Storyline

The poet Jean Cocteau is lost in space-time. He has been in the 18th century and is now turning up at different moments in professor Langevin's life. The professor has invented some bullets, which travel faster than light. With one of them he kills Cocteau, who is resurrected as his old self, but is still caught in the space between fantasy and reality. At a gypsy camp a woman saves a photo out of the fire and restores it. On the photo Cocteau recognizes Cégeste from his film Orphée. He tears the photo into pieces and throws it into the sea. Immediately Cégeste himself jumps out of the water. He brings Cocteau to a rogatory commission led by Heurtebise and The Princess from the film Orphée. Cocteau admits that he has constantly attempted to enter a world which is not his own, a world that is beyond the limits of man, and that disobedience is like a religion for him. The commission imposes on him the sentence of life. In a hall inside some stone ruins the goddess Athena kills Cocteau ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Biography

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

18 February 1960 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Le testament d'Orphée See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Having run out of funds, Cocteau was able to complete the film with the prize money that Francois Truffaut had just won for "Les Quatre Cents Coups" (1959). See more »

Quotes

Cégeste: It's no use. An artist always paints his own portrait. You'll never paint that flower.
See more »

Connections

Follows Orpheus (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Orphée et Eurydice
Composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck
(1762)
See more »

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User Reviews

Art-Kitsch
17 September 2002 | by philfromnoSee all my reviews

Modernist renaissance man directed quite a few groundbreaking masterpeices in his time, like the hallucinatory Beauty and the Beast and Blood of a Poet, basically setting the stage for art directors ranging from Ingmar Bergman to Jean-Luc Godard. But here, he made a film so tired and silly looking, it almost crosses the line into so-bad-it's-good.

The film basically consists of the elderly Cocteau himself, wandering through a world of people in crazy-ass costumes, and making faces that bear a striking resemblance to Bela Lugosi's horrified looks in Ed Wood's Glen or Glenda. There are also some elementary special effects (backwards film, for example) that are somewhat less than mind blowing, even by 1960 standards.

Interestingly, the incredulous person staring a people in costumes was done much better 2 years later in Herk Harvey's low budget horror film Carnival of Souls, which, unlike the Testament of Orpheus, is a must see.


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