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Their leader, the young Jacques Cegeste, is caught up in a bar-room brawl which spills out into the street and he is killed by a motorcyclist. Orphee, an innocent bystander, is taken away in a black limousine with the lifeless body of Cegeste by a beautiful and mysterious Princess to a deserted house. Here, time runs backwards and the way into the underworld lies through mirrors ("I give you the secret of secrets! Mirrors are the doorway through which death comes").
Orpheus falls in love with the Princess and so falls in love with his own death. Meanwhile, Orphee's absence is noted by the Police, who are advised by Cegeste's followers that he is responsible for the young poet's death.
Ultimately Orphee has to choose between between Death - the Princess - and Eurydice, after she is returned to the Underworld. He is wracked with indecision: the Princess eventually makes the decision for him.
This strange and beautiful film may seem familiar even if you are watching it for the first time as it has been referenced in many other films, as well as in pop videos: and yes, it was the image of Orphee (Jean Marais, Cocteau's lifelong lover) on the cover of The Smiths' This Charming Man.
There are many unforgettable images; Orphee, receiving fragments of poetry via his car radio ("The Bird counts with his fingers! Three times!"); the magical gloves; the glass seller in the Underworld; and ultimately, the final "Adieu!Read more ›