66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
Martha
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:53 pm
Location: all up in thurr

66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:21 pm

The Orphic Trilogy

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/1604/66_orphic_w128.jpg[/img]

Decadent, subversive, and bristling with artistic invention, the myth-born cinema of Jean Cocteau disturbs as much as it charms. Cocteau was the most versatile of artists in prewar Paris. Poet, novelist, playwright, painter, celebrity, and maker of cinema—his many talents converged in bold, dreamlike films that continue to enthrall audiences around the world. In The Blood of Poet, Orpheus, and Testament of Orpheus, Cocteau utilizes the Orphic myth to explore the complex relationships between the artist and his creations, reality and the imagination. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the DVD premiere of the Orphic Trilogy in a special limited-edition three-disc box set.

Criterionforum.org user rating averages

Feature currently disabled

The Blood of a Poet

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/391/67_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

“Poets . . . shed not only the red blood of their hearts but the white blood of their souls,” proclaimed Jean Cocteau of his groundbreaking first film—an exploration of the plight of the artist, the power of metaphor and the relationship between art and dreams. One of cinema’s great experiments, this first installment of the Orphic Trilogy stretches the medium to its limits in an effort to capture the poet’s obsession with the struggle between the forces of life and death. Criterion is proud to present The Blood of a Poet (Le sang d’un poète).

Special Features:

-New digital transfer, with restored sound
-New English subtitle translation
-A collection of rare behind-the-scenes photos
-Edgardo Cozarinsky’s renowned 66-minute 1984 documentary Cocteau: Autoportrait d’un Inconnu (Autobiography of an Unknown)
-A transcript of Cocteau’s lecture given at a 1932 screening of Blood of a Poet, and a 1946 essay by Cocteau
-A Cocteau bibliofilmography

Criterionforum.org user rating averages

Feature currently disabled

Orpheus

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/505/68_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img] Image Image

Original Release from The Orphic Trilogy
Jean Cocteau’s 1940s update of the Orphic myth depicts Orpheus (Jean Marais), a famous poet scorned by the Left Bank youth, and his love for both his wife Eurydice (Marie Déa) and the mysterious Princess (Maria Casarès). Seeking inspiration, the poet follows the Princess from the world of the living to the land of the deceased through Cocteau’s trademark “mirrored portal.” As the myth unfolds, the director’s visually poetic style pulls the audience into realms both real and imagined in this, the centerpiece to his Orphic Trilogy.

Special Features:

-New transfer, with digitally restored image and sound
-New English subtitle translation
-Cocteau’s 1950 essays on the film
-A Cocteau bibliofilmography

2011 Blu-ray/DVD Upgrade of Orpheus
This 1950 update of the Orphic myth by Jean Cocteau depicts a famous poet (Jean Marais) scorned by the Left Bank youth, and his love for both his wife Eurydice (Marie Déa) and a mysterious princess (Maria Casarès). Seeking inspiration, the poet follows the princess from the world of the living to the land of the dead through Cocteau’s famous mirrored portal. Orpheus represents the legendary Cocteau at the height of his abilities for peerless visual poetry and dreamlike storytelling.

DISC FEATURES

- New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
- Audio commentary by French film scholar James Williams
- Jean Cocteau: Autobiography of an Unknown, a 1984 feature-length documentary
- Video piece from 2008 featuring assistant director Claude Pinoteau on the special effects in the film
- 40 Minutes with Jean Cocteau, an interview with the director from 1957
- In Search of Jazz, a 1956 interview with Cocteau on the use of jazz in the film
- La villa Santo-Sospir, a 16 mm color Cocteau film from 1951
- Gallery of images by French film portrait photographer Roger Corbeau
- Raw newsreel footage
- Theatrical trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by author Mark Polizzotti, selected Cocteau writings on the film, and an essay on La villa Santo-Sospir by Williams


Criterionforum.org user rating averages

Feature currently disabled

The Testament of Orpheus

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/product_images/508/69_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

In his last film, legendary writer/artist/filmmaker Jean Cocteau portrays an 18th-century poet who travels through time on a quest for divine wisdom. In a mysterious wasteland, he meets several symbolic phantoms that bring about his death and resurrection. With an eclectic cast that includes Pablo Picasso, Jean-Pierre Leáud, Jean Marais and Yul Brynner, Testament of Orpheus (Le Testament de Orphée) brings full circle the journey Cocteau began in The Blood of a Poet, an exploration of the torturous relationship between the artist and his creations.

Special Features:

-New digital transfer, with restored sound
-New English subtitle translation
-Villa Santo Sospir, a 16 mm color film by Cocteau featuring many of the locations used in The Testament of Orpheus
-A collection of Cocteau’s writings on the film
-A Cocteau bibliofilmography

Criterionforum.org user rating averages

Feature currently disabled

User avatar
Lino
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:18 am
Location: Sitting End
Contact:

#2 Post by Lino » Sat May 28, 2005 9:17 am

Have this amazing boxset for a long time now and is one that I always return to every now and then. Yesterday was one of those days.

I shall always treasure the day I explored for the first time "the myth-born" cinema of Cocteau after being blown away by La Belle et la Bete. It was a hot summer day and I watched the whole contents of this set during the whole day, completely mesmerized from beginning to end. True works of pure art, no less.

That said, I have one question: I noticed that during Blood of a Poet, the intertitles are in english where they should be in french, righ? There is however one intertitle in french written and signed by Cocteau in his marvelously infantile hand-writing. I wonder if the French Cocteau set has all the original french intertitles.

User avatar
jorencain
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:45 am

#3 Post by jorencain » Thu Aug 04, 2005 9:23 pm

I just made my way through this set, and I'm really impressed with these films. The 3 movies essentially revolve around the central film, "Orpheus", with "Blood of a Poet" acting as a prelude, and "Testament of Orpheus" commenting on Cocteau's relationship to that film, as well as all of his artistic output. While the three films make Cocteau come across as a little self-obsessed, he really creates a unique, dream-like world that is much more Bunuelian than I anticipated.

I haven't watched the documentary on the first disc yet, but the short film on the "Testament of Orpheus" disc is also very interesting. I will echo Annie's thoughts that these films are both "mesmerizing" and "true works of pure art."

Has anyone seen "Les Parents terribles" and can comment on it?

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

#4 Post by david hare » Thu Aug 04, 2005 9:35 pm

Now that we also have Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne and Les Enfants Terribles available - in a less than perfect transfer from BFI, ragged print and left hand cropping - wouldn't it be great to see some more movies from Cocteau screenplays - I'm thinking of Les Parents Terribles, Thomas l'Imposteur and the ethereal L'Eternel Retour which I haven't seen for years but which has always stayed with me. I am hopeful about this last title at least in France as Studio Canal recently reissued a lovely restoration of Jean Delannoy's Macao l'Enfer du Jeu (no English subs) and the back cover hints at further restorations of Delannoy. (Most of his ouput is mundane hackwork but these two would be extremely welcome.)

User avatar
Lino
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:18 am
Location: Sitting End
Contact:

#5 Post by Lino » Fri Aug 05, 2005 3:25 am

flixyflox wrote:Now that we also have Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne and Les Enfants Terribles available - in a less than perfect transfer from BFI, ragged print and left hand cropping - wouldn't it be great to see some more movies from Cocteau screenplays - I'm thinking of Les Parents Terribles, Thomas l'Imposteur and the ethereal L'Eternel Retour
I wholeheartedly agree! In fact, I've been asking Mulvaney about some of those titles for years now as I think those would be invaluable additions to the Collection.

I've been craving so much for those titles that I almost ordered the impossibly priced japanese boxset:

http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=IVCF-2259

Mathieu
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 1:19 pm

#6 Post by Mathieu » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:53 pm

In regards to the films in this set, are the original French intertitles available untranslated?

User avatar
Lino
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:18 am
Location: Sitting End
Contact:

#7 Post by Lino » Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:59 pm

That's exactly what I asked above and noone seemed to know. Guess one of us has to buy the french set, hey? :wink:

Mathieu
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 1:19 pm

#8 Post by Mathieu » Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:08 pm

Does the French set include all three films? The listing only seems to mention Blood of a Poet and Testament of Orpheus.

User avatar
Lino
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:18 am
Location: Sitting End
Contact:

#9 Post by Lino » Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:23 pm

It's only those two. Don't know why. Orphee is released separately. Maybe through another company, I don't know anymore. However, there are exclusive extras to those french sets that you don't get in the Criterion versions.

User avatar
Gordon
Waster of Cinema
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 8:03 am

#10 Post by Gordon » Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:24 pm

Timeless, Mesmerizing films.

I too watched the entire set back-to-back in a single day; I couldn't leave the room. To me, Cocteau's films are portolans on the cinematic map; they each appeared when Cinema wasn't as innovative, intelligent and wistfully enigmatic as it should have been and they help to put a lot of things into perspective for me. They are also very personal films, in which the filmmaker fully brings himself to and through his films - literally in the case of Testament, which is one of the great 'death bed' films. Along with the recently released The Tales of Hoffmann, the Orphic films (and also La Belle et la bête) are among the great examples of in-camera special effects films - magical stuff! CGI makes me go "WOW!", but the effects in Cocteau's films (and Hoffmann) work on a much different level - they effect the heart as well as the brain.

The Criterion set is still one of the jewels in their crown. The transfers are gorgeous and free from significant damage. The sound is also cleaned up on all films. No digital refurbishment seems to have been done on the BFI edition of Orphée.

The extras are equally as beautiful as the films themselves: Edgardo Cozarinsky's, Jean Cocteau: Autobiography of an Unknown (I love that title!) is a unique and moving portrait of this wonderful man. La Villa Santo-Sospir is a quaint, but priceless piece of film. The various essays - includings Cocteau's 1932 lecture on Blood of the Poet are highly informative and illuminating.

I also own the BFI disc of Orphée, which I keep with the Criterion disc in a standard-width two-disc case. It includes a very good commentary by Dr Roland-François Lack, a lecturer at the French Department at the University of London which provides further insight into this mysterious and unforgettable film.

Like Goethe, Cocteau had was something of an 'artistic polymath', who was brilliant in all that he tried has hand at and was always pushing himself to the limit. From what I have read of his own writing and the writing of others as well as filmed interviews and anecdotes, he was a warm and generous fellow, to boot. I feel that he was one of the greatest artists - and eminent personalities - of the 20th Century. There is no other.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

#11 Post by colinr0380 » Tue May 22, 2007 12:24 pm

The Criterion Contraption tackles the Orphic Trilogy.

User avatar
malcolm1980
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 4:37 am
Location: Manila, Philippines
Contact:

#12 Post by malcolm1980 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:27 am

QUESTION: Can you watch one film as a standalone or do you really need to see all three in order in order to fully grasp/appreciate it? Thanks.

User avatar
skuhn8
wax on; wax off
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: Chico, CA

#13 Post by skuhn8 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:36 am

malcolm1980 wrote:QUESTION: Can you watch one film as a standalone or do you really need to see all three in order in order to fully grasp/appreciate it? Thanks.
The first two are fine standalone. the third (Testament) works better if you've seen numero deux (#2)

User avatar
dad1153
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:32 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#14 Post by dad1153 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:02 pm


User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#15 Post by knives » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:46 pm

The really terrible thing about this one, for those who haven't got it, is that Criterion actually has the rights to one of these, which means that any American release at least will be incomplete.

richast2
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:49 am

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#16 Post by richast2 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:11 pm

knives wrote:The really terrible thing about this one, for those who haven't got it, is that Criterion actually has the rights to one of these, which means that any American release at least will be incomplete.
Which one? I suppose it means that they could release it separately, possibly as an essential art house release.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#17 Post by knives » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:39 pm

If packaging can be trusted, they have the rights to Orpheus.

Adam
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:29 pm
Location: Los Angeles CA
Contact:

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#18 Post by Adam » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:13 pm

Los Angeles Filmforum is in the midst of doing a series of oral histories for our project Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980. It's remarkable how often Blood of a Poet comes up as a key influence for experimental filmmakers of a certain generation - Kenneth Anger, Curtis Harrington, and more. Really an important and vital film, and its potential absence is distressing.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#19 Post by zedz » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:26 pm

Adam wrote:Los Angeles Filmforum is in the midst of doing a series of oral histories for our project Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980. It's remarkable how often Blood of a Poet comes up as a key influence for experimental filmmakers of a certain generation - Kenneth Anger, Curtis Harrington, and more. Really an important and vital film, and its potential absence is distressing.
This has been previously documented, but it's well worth repeating. I believe Blood of a Poet was one of the few European experimental films distributed in the US in the 30s and 40s, so it was everybody's point of reference. You can see its template followed very closely by Kenneth Anger in Fireworks, and the entire 'trance film' subgenre owes a lot to Cocteau's model - as well as the 'poet' / 'artist' protagonists and self-portraiture of so many early American experimental films.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#20 Post by domino harvey » Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:59 pm

knives wrote:If packaging can be trusted, they have the rights to Orpheus.
They could deluxe edition it and license the BFI commentary

kawest
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:13 am
Location: Chicago

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#21 Post by kawest » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:26 pm

zedz wrote: This has been previously documented, but it's well worth repeating. I believe Blood of a Poet was one of the few European experimental films distributed in the US in the 30s and 40s, so it was everybody's point of reference.
Indeed. It also had a long run at New York's Fifth Avenue Playhouse in the 1930s with Watson and Webber's Lot in Sodom, a not unreasonable double bill. Pace zedz, Blood of a Poet was the model for 'poetic' films through at least the 1950s. (It finally began circulating on non-theatrical 16mm in '51.) Even Brakhage's early work (uncomfortably) bears its influence.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#22 Post by swo17 » Mon May 16, 2011 4:42 pm

Orpheus is coming to Blu-ray, which you already knew before clicking this link.

User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#23 Post by Tommaso » Mon May 16, 2011 7:49 pm

And the new extras look so great that I feel like I have to triple-dip on the film. Dammit.

User avatar
Jeff
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:49 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#24 Post by Jeff » Mon May 16, 2011 8:05 pm

I've added the new specs and art in Orpheus section of the original post. The new stuff is in blue.

User avatar
Amazing Goose
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:31 pm
Location: tamu

Re: 66-69 The Orphic Trilogy

#25 Post by Amazing Goose » Tue May 17, 2011 1:54 am

sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere (i try to keep up on the forums but miss some things), but if the box set went out of print so recently and now this is getting released on blu, which film(s) does criterion still not have the rights to?

Post Reply