It is currently Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:01 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 55 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 4:46 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:58 pm
Location: Paris, Texas
I stopped buying older Criterion DVD mainly for that reason, unless if it a minor film with no Blu-ray on the horizon in the near future.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 5:25 pm 
Dot Com Dom
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm
Thank God for this, otherwise August would be a complete deadzone


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 5:37 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:29 pm
No, i bought the Second Run edition, so i didn't spend that much.
Domino, isn't the release of the Sternberg set a cause of celebration? Are you referring to the lack of exciting HD releases?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 7:25 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm
^ Second Sight and, I believe, sarcasm.

What I wanted to say, though, was to applaud Criterion for tapping Stam. From what I've read of his writing on the film, his views on it strike me as close to my own: one the one hand, recognizing the serious flaws in it as the work of a director (and, overall, an audience) looking into a culture totally from the outside and generally not understanding it; and on the other, enjoying it and recognizing its importance in putting Brazilian culture (in some form) before the eyes of people in the global North.
One thing I wonder about is what younger Brazilian cinephiles think of the film, in general. Now that several decades have passed and it's an artifact, I wonder if they still see it as such a problematic work.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 7:33 pm 
Dot Com Dom
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm
perkizitore wrote:
Domino, isn't the release of the Sternberg set a cause of celebration? Are you referring to the lack of exciting HD releases?

I shamefully forgot about the Sternbergs when I wrote that


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:41 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:15 pm
Blu-ray.com review


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:51 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington
Blu-ray


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:05 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:09 pm
Location: Edinburgh, UK
Hm. Doesn't look appreciably better than the Second Sight DVD (which Beaver hasn't reviewed) - I think I'll pass on this one.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:49 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:49 pm
Location: Portland, OR
I guess I'm both surprised and disappointed that there doesn't seem to be any mention of President Obama's famous relationship with this movie in the new edition's special features.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 12:30 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm
Svevan wrote:
I guess I'm both surprised and disappointed that there doesn't seem to be any mention of President Obama's famous relationship with this movie in the new edition's special features.

Obama's description of it was pretty excellent criticism, to me; it contextualizes both the problematic nature and the original appeal of the movie, and relates them to each other.

It's much harder to get worked up about a largely positive reductive portrayal of a people than it is about Jud Suss kind of stuff, and obviously it's not harmful in the same way, but the idea of being a black person and recognizing that one's own mother could watch a movie as fantastic and cartoonish as Black Orpheus and really connect with it as a portrayal of what black people are really like- it's a strange kind of tragic.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:09 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:24 am
I agree that it is a sensitive reading of the film and the relationship, open to the worst possibilities in each and not just the best.

One issue I have with Criterion (and other labels) is that for films from the past they rely almost exclusively on film scholars for context and commentary, which creates a kind of feedback loop that doesn't quite do enough for a film like this one. With so many learned people available in the fields of history, critical race studies, Latin American studies, etc., this seems to be yet another opportunity missed. I'm sure Stam has insightful things to say, but I would like to hear from some people who've written about race and Brazilian history directly. It is a complex subject but one that would really help viewers of the film.

It is quite old, but Carl Degler's Neither Black Nor White is a comparative study of slavery and race relations in the US and Brazil that was published in 1972 and is a pretty good place to start. Much important work has been done since, but it is a literature I do not know well.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:32 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:19 am
I wonder whether, if Obama's father had taken him to see My Fair Lady, he would have got himself as worked up over the charicatured treatment of white working classes in England. Either film is about as relevant to Obama Jr as a person.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:52 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm
Matango wrote:
I wonder whether, if Obama's father had taken him to see My Fair Lady, he would have got himself as worked up over the caricatured treatment of white working classes in England. Either film is about as relevant to Obama Jr as a person.

Did you actually read the piece in question? It's a description of how Obama felt like he understood his mother's view of black people in seeing how she reacted to Black Orpheus and understanding why it was her favorite movie. That is in fact a fairly direct connection to him.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:59 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:19 am
matrixschmatrix wrote:
Matango wrote:
I wonder whether, if Obama's father had taken him to see My Fair Lady, he would have got himself as worked up over the caricatured treatment of white working classes in England. Either film is about as relevant to Obama Jr as a person.

Did you actually read the piece in question? It's a description of how Obama felt like he understood his mother's view of black people in seeing how she reacted to Black Orpheus and understanding why it was her favorite movie. That is in fact a fairly direct connection to him.

Yes I did read it, and nowhere does it say that Black Orpheus was her favourite movie. I was just wondering whether if the roles were switched, he would have been so unhappy with his father enjoying a film that belittled a white segment of society in a foreign country. Just a hypothetical thought really.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:27 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:24 am
I'm really tired of the "whites are victims too--minorities are the racists" trope that's going around these days.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:30 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:19 am
That's not my angle at all. I find both films equally benign. That's what I'm saying.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:29 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:13 pm
Beaver


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:52 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm
I hope this will not be read as an attack on the film (I'm really divided about it, as I mentioned above).

Personally, I can't understand anyone stating that the film was benign, even if it were a black Brazilian viewer making the claim. Historically, the influence of Black Orpheus was too widespread and loaded with various kinds of cultural baggage to be benign. It had an immeasurable impact on how the world outside South America perceived Brazil. It communicated things to viewers not only about racial matters but just as significantly about poverty, conditions of life in Rio de Janeiro, and why things were the way they were. Crucially, it was mainly a treatment by a European director, who made an extremely fanciful and exoticized film apparently without the slightest understanding of the reality behind what it presented to the world. And in fact Camus's statements made this quite clear, claiming that Brazil was "a country without roots," "without a tradition of expression," where "blacks live in favelas in order to flee from civilization."

Whether it is benign now depends on what assumptions and prejudices viewers around the world bring to the film, which makes the matter even more complex. I tend to think even a film 50 years old can still often influence people's view of another culture, the social context of a country at a particular time, etc. It doesn't take place in some other universe; it is some sort of representation of Brazil, so it can be hard, even impossible, to fully recognize where actual basis ends and the fantasy begins.
It appears that Stam spoke about some of this stuff during part of his interview on the new release.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:04 pm
I also read Obama's remembrance to the film, and even though I loved the film upon first viewing (mostly because I want every day in my life to be Carnaval too), I know exactly where he's coming from. Most of his disappointment, it seems, stems not from the film itself, but from his realization that there was a gulf between his mother's reaction to the film and his. To put it bluntly: the colonizer and the colonized see the film in very different ways.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:03 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:19 am
The BR extra feature 'Looking for Black Orpheus' has a fair bit with Seu Jorge, the Bossa Nova Bowie cover-version guy from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Sadly we don't get to see what became of the cool little dancing kid called Zeca in the original movie. Although credited as Aurino Cassiano, he is now known as Carlinhos Pandeiro de Ouro. If you paste that name into Youtube you can see some fairly recent performances of his.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:14 pm 
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Gregory wrote:

Personally, I can't understand anyone stating that the film was benign, even if it were a black Brazilian viewer making the claim. Historically, the influence of Black Orpheus was too widespread and loaded with various kinds of cultural baggage to be benign.

Gregory, by the same token, you aren't saying the movie, while it may not be "benign" (and I'm not quite certain what you mean by that), is malicious or hurtful? I'm not being polemical or argumentative, I'm just curious.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:29 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm
I would definitely not say malicious, as it seems to me that Camus likely had only good intentions with the film and toward the people of Rio de Janeiro etc. But his understanding of Carioca culture, poverty in Brazil, etc. were pretty profoundly limited and misguided, and I think the importance of this was magnified by the film's status of a primary representation of Brazil to the rest of the world, so not surprisingly a lot of people particularly Brazilians did find it hurtful. I was taking "benign" in a fairly straightforward sense from Matango, who never really said what specifically makes this film and My Fair Lady benign today, or whether they were benign all along -- but I don't mean to press the issue at all.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:25 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:19 am
By benign, I meant harmless. From what I have seen on the BD extras, the main gripe among Brazilian commentators seems to be that the favelas were not accurately portrayed, and that's obviously the case. But no-one was dissed or looked down on. Romanticized yes, but that's hardly unusual for a 1950s musical.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:13 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm
Clearly Black Orpheus is hardly alone in its problems of representation, particularly (as you suggest) looking at it as part of the musical genre, which in general openly flouts seriousness and realism. However, it seems to me that reception of Hollywood musicals and something like Black Orpheus around the world were different kettles of fish. With Hollywood musical representations of Latin America, for example Carmen Miranda's '40s films at Fox, the artifice was so much more transparent. I would argue that whereas Miranda's persona and films were generally a caricature of existing ideas and representations of the Brazil, Brazilian-ness, and all things tropical (as "other"), Black Orpheus worked in more subtle ways and was generally received with far more assumptions of its authenticity. As Stam points out in his book, numerous critics praised the "naturalness" of the black actors, with some making explicit references to the blacks' natural instinct and intuition, seemingly distinct from than a conscious artistic talent or the trained craft of acting and performance. The New York Times review spoke of the "native quality" of the "untrained negro actors," clearly unaware that many of the principals were highly trained and experienced actors and dancers. So it seems to me that many viewed it as if it captured something of an unvarnished reality as portrayed by actual people from the real setting in which the film takes place. This adds another dimension to the controversy about the film as an influential representation of Brazil in the world rather than just another musical.
Should we blame Camus for these faulty assumptions on the part of critics and other viewers? Certainly not, but that was not my intention at all. I just think this kind of context makes the film that much more interesting to view and discuss.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: 48 Black Orpheus
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:43 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:19 am
As you say, we can't blame Camus for critics' reactions. But the NY Times using the term 'untrained negro actors' probably wasn't too different from what was presented to its reviewer in the press kit, I would think. The two leads were after all complete unknowns in the US, with one of them (Breno Mello) untrained and untested and the other (Marpessa Dawn) not much further ahead. I wouldn't expect any reviewer of the day would have gone through the supporting cast noting their theatrical stage credentials.

Also, I think the benefits that Black Orpheus gave Brazil in terms of enduring international musical exposure outweigh any perceived negatives 50 years on. Global respect for Brazilian music (and consequently Brazilian culture) came hard and fast on the heels of this film.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 55 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group




This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection