Friday, October 1, 2010

#66: The Orphic Trilogy

(Jean Cocteau, 1930-1959)

It's hard to think of films made 30 years apart with no plot similarities as part of the same trilogy. Certainly when Cocteau made The Blood of a Poet he hadn't intended to make two more films in the same series, and really these films are only thought of as a trilogy because Cocteau himself declared it.

Of course, they are all connected, both thematically and aesthetically, and certainly Testament of Orpheus can be seen as a unique kind of sequel to Orpheus, wherein the creator is asked to answer for his creations. Part of what makes it so easy to attach them to each other is the fact that each explores the same things at many points, and making them a series is much easier than explaining why you repeated yourself. Cocteau subtitled the last film "Do Not Ask Me Why," intending for people to take these films at their face value and stop trying to find a real answer to the mysteries they presented. It's far too easy in art these days to need a "right" interpretation of something, especially since many artists come from school where they are often forced to explain the motivation behind their work. Cocteau was a great filmmaker because he let the work speak for itself, especially when, as was the case with this trilogy, it was speaking of itself.

Links to individual reviews:
The Blood of a Poet
Testament of Orpheus

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