Marcel Camus, Brazil, France, Italy, 1959o
Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s: In the midst of the carnival preparations, Eurídice, a simple country girl, meets the tram conductor and womanizer Orfeu. Although Orfeu is already engaged to the spirited Mira, they fall in love. But the jealous Mira swears revenge.
Fifty years later, the popular take on Black Orpheus generally emphasizes the memorable score, vibrant Carnival dance sequences and the indisputable charms of a very attractive cast, while more wary and skeptical critics, taking their cue from the film's early detractors (including some of the leading lights of the Nouvelle Vague), point out the socio-political compromises, glamorizations of poverty and arguably exploitive racial and ethnic aspects of director Marcel Camus' career highlight.David Blakeslee