Black Orpheus 1959 ★★★★½

A then-contemporary re-telling of the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice set in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. The film is visually stunning (and how could it not be, with those gorgeous locations and wonderful costumes?), and the music is infectious. I had a bit of a problem with my viewing, because my wife was on the couch with me, working on a paper for class and only partially paying attention. Her interruptions and distractions really dampened my emotional investment in the film at times.

There is a moment when the film becomes all but silent, and it is genuinely chilling--especially in light of what is happening on-screen during this portion of the story. My wife had questioned how this met the standard for being counted as a musical, and I tried to explain to her just how important music was between the characters--especially between Orpheus and Eurydice. It wasn't until that scene with no sound at all that I realized just how dependent upon music the film really is, and if that's not the definition of a musical, then I don't know what is.

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