In Rio, Orfeo is a musician and tram conductor, engaged to be married. During the carnival, he sees Eurydice, and it's forbidden love at first sight.
It’s to Camus’ credit that the symbolism is integrated so deftly with the sights and sounds of the Rio Carnival. But what gives the film its mesmerising atmosphere is cinematographer Jean Bourgoin’s discrete contrasts between the vibrancy of the daylight revels and the looming malevolence of the nocturnal sequences.
A treat for the eyes and ears, this translation of the Orpheus myth to the Rio Carnival wisely reins in the symbolism in favour of good old-fashioned musical melodrama.
Reviewed by David Parkinson