The movie entitled Black Orpheus is one of the first full-length films that feature Black people as the main performers and/or actors and actresses in interpreting a classic narrative of Orpheus and Eurydice, which is a widely known as a legendary Greek story (Black Orpheus – 1958). In a sense, the said film which is also known as Orfeu Negro has opened numerous doors of opportunities and fame for the people who have directly participated in the entire production of the film, wherein the on-cam talents artists and people from behind the scene have received various honors and recognition from the success that the film has achieved.
In this regard, with the use of three main scenes in the movie, this movie review paper would primarily work in analyzing as to how the aspects of cinematography, setting, color and lighting, blockings, sound, mise-en-scene and editing further uplift the aptitude of the movie in clearly depicting specific theme.
Sequence 1: The Opening Part of the Film • The scene at the beginning of the film starts by depicting olden images of the of Greek Statues that paves the way to the abrupt depiction of Black People dancing in the lively tune of samba and the bang of the drums from the hill to community proper in Favela, a small shanty town Rio de Janeiro. Setting
Set in the outskirt community of Black People in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the location of the opening scene has definitely played a significant role in depicting the theme of the specific scene and of the entire movie, which is that of the lucidity of festivity, apparent social difficulties and simple way of living in a Shanty town that is mainly composed of poor black people.
The setting in this particular scene served as a key factor in depicting and drawing a real picture of poor community of Black people who have been rejected in the city of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro during the late 1950. Color & Lighting Situated during day time while the sun shines up, the opening scene of the movie does not need that much of distinct lighting but rather the use of colors in this specific scene serves as a neutralizer to the emotions and theme depicted in this part of the movie.
Given the fact that this scene presents diverse subject which is that of both happiness and difficulty, through the variations of bright and dark colors of people’s clothes it can be said that these people, despite of all the apparent difficulties and social discrimination, still wear different emotions and standpoint in life. Thus, through the use of colors, the theme between happiness and suffering are both accordingly interpreted. Movement and Sound
As per the designed and patterned movement in this specific scene, the actions and activities of the people in the opening scene of the movie somehow renders and mirrors the current situation of the community of Black People in the poor hilly place in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. With the disorganized movements of characters in this scene, wherein people are busy doing their own tasks and agendas without any uniformity, the disorderly state of the Black People living in this community is showcased. On the other, music in this scene serves as a mood setter that is set to highlight the emotion and theme.
As for the use of lively music, it primarily draws the subject of happiness while the slower one towards the end of the scene represents the darker picture of the deprived life of people. Mise-en-Scene and Editing As for the Mise-en-Scene, all the major elements in this specific scene before the camera like the set-up of old houses and costumes of all the people in this part of the movie are all utilized in such a way that it aims to present an appropriate picture regarding the actual situation of small poor community of Black People in Rio de Janeiro during the late 1950’s.
In addition to this, the props and set design for this scene serves as key factors to uplift the realism in depicting the poor condition of the entire community and the manner through which the Black People find their happiness despite of their unfortunate situation. On the other hand, the editing experience wise for this scene is simple yet comprehensive to depict a steady flow of the theme, wherein every frame is equipped with rich images of Black people and their specific enjoinment and personal task. Sequence 2: Black Children Anticipating the Sunrise
• One morning in the hilly poor community of Black People in the outskirt of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the two young Black boys are waiting for the sun to rise facing the direction of the sun in front of the river while the other boy is playing the guitar while anticipating the sun to come out. A young Black girl entered the scene and requested for a guitar beat to dance. Setting Setting here plays a different role as compare to the first and opening scene, as this specific part of the movie is primarily set to depict a totally different picture of the poor community of Black People in Rio de Janeiro.
Situated at the back of the complex and crowded community of poor and deprived Black People, the setting here primarily represents the other side of the poor and hilly community, which is that of the more quiet and peaceful part of the deprived land. The setting shows that despite of the complication and the negative story of betrayal in love that has happened in the mountains where the rejects of society live, there is still a brighter and peaceful ground where the sun shines and starts a new beginning and healthy life again. Color & Lighting
Color is an element of the movie that matters so much in the sequence. Through the same color of clothes between the boy who plays the guitar and the girl who asks for the guitar beat in order to dance, the shade of white signifies the theme of a new start and a happy ending of the film. Though the main characters died towards the end, there will always be a young blood that still live a healthy life that is full of love, despite of all the evident hindrances, through the young bloods which could possibly among the young Black boys an girl in this sequence.
Lighting, on the other hand, portrays a relatively significant role, as this serves a shade of life and light towards new beginning and a happy ending in the film’s story. Through use of lighting, as assume to be the glow of sunrise in this sequence, the theme of happiness becomes observable through the clear depiction of facial reactions and smiles of the children. Movement and Sound Though there are minimal movements in this sequence, the dance motions and increasing strums from the boy on the guitar serves as particular actions that depicts the upright theme of enthusiasm throughout the narrative of the movie.
Thus, the upbeat music towards the end of this scene also creates a significant collaboration with that of the dance part of the children that leaves a strong and powerful undertone regarding the dynamic theme of the movie. Mise-en-Scene and Editing As per the Mise-en-Scene and editing on this specific sequence, the props, set design and the costumes are all substantial to depict the theme of the scene and of the entire movie. The guitar and its music signifies the unyielding music of the poor community of Black People in the hilly outskirt of Rio de Janeiro that will continue though the narrative of the main characters has come to an end.
As per the editing experience wise, on the other hand, remain to be of its simple approach but still powerful in depicting a clear picture of hope and theme of love and happiness amidst all the difficulties. Sequence 3: The Revelation of Betrayal • Towards the latter part of the movie, this sequence is regarded to be the scene where Orpheus and Eurydice have come to their end and met their destiny with their forbidden love. This scene is also filled with diverse emotions and themes, which is both about love and anger. Setting
The setting here in this specific sequence is appropriate to depict the height of story and progress of events in the film, which also signify the nearing end of the movie. Situated in the highest peak of the hilly community of Black People, the setting of this film helps portray the stature of the story, wherein Orpheus and Eurydice will most likely face their defeat and consequence in pursuing their forbidden love, as Orpheus stroke with a stone in the head by Mira, his lover and fiance, and fell of the heap with Eurydice between his arms.
In addition to this, the setting also sets the towering feeling of love between Orpheus and Eurydice as well as the heightened theme of anger of the ladies who met betrayal with love. Color & Lighting As per the color and lighting, the colors of blue and yellow signifies two different emotions in this sequence with depression felt by the one who felt betrayed and yellow that portray a fair and ravishing emotion to seek for revenge.
As for the lighting, this sequence is treated with minimal use of low high beam lights in order to further illustrate the sudden slump in the peak of emotion and feelings on in the entire narrative of the film. Movement and Sound Movements and sounds in this sequence help to portray the theme of love and betrayal. Through the modest and calmness of action coming from Orpheus while singing up in the hill, the feeling of love and caress is widely evident.
On the other hand, the powerful actions and rage from Mira and other Black Women from the top of the hill mirrors the anger and burning emotion cause by infidelity, which is further illustrated through the loud screaming voices of women. Mise-en-Scene and Editing Lastly, as per the Mise-en-Scene on this sequence, the design and the props are very well essential in depicting the theme of thematic love and anger between two different sides. With the dew and warmth of the simple flowers on the path way of Orpheus and Eurydice up in the hill, it readily signifies the love and tenderness of morning between the lovers.
On the other hand, the fire and dark smoke from the top of the hill where Mira and other Black women are coming from portrays the harsh feeling of a woman who has been deceived and the thematic angry emotion of the film. In the end, as for the editing experience, every frame and each interpretation of camera shots are all incorporated together in such a critical treatment and detailed approach to illustrate well the theme of love and betrayal of the movie. Work Cited Black Orpheus (1958). IGN Entertainment, Inc. 27 March 2009 <http://www. rottentomatoes. com/m/black_orpheus/#>
Courtney from Study Moose
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