Orpheus ★★★★½

A truly inspiring, beguiling work of art on celluloid: the continuation of Cocteau's exploration, commenced with The Blood of a Poet and even alluded to in the prologue of Beauty and the Beast, of the agony and ecstasy of creation. Pretty and tough Jean Marais stars, in a liberal update to the Greek myth, as a celebrity poet shunned by the hipsters, beloved by the public, and whisked via limousine into a surreal, dreamlike, wildly unpredictable but surprisingly organic drama of death and love and impossibly high stakes. The cast is masterful, never winking or indicating anything except full commitment to Cocteau's eccentric, irresistible vision; and his harnessing of the camera as an engine of lyricism, with brilliant optical and practical effects as well as simply graceful and intimate compositions, has an excitement and restlessness you'd expect of a much younger director. The kind of movie that makes other movies seem faintly silly.