"It is the film-maker's privilege to be able to allow a large number of people to dream the same dream together."
- Jean Cocteau
Revisited the final film of Jean Cocteau's Orphic trilogy. Beautiful definition of light in the vintage print. Watching Cocteau's Orphic trilogy for the first time as a whole in December 1978 was for me personally a turning-point in the discovery of art. The three films have a cumulative effect, and the sense of play is at its most relaxed in this final film.
This time Cocteau, himself, is Orpheus, the poet who can transcend time and space. "The poet is the one who changes the rules of the game", a creator, someone who can transform reality. It is a farewell film about death - and rebirth, because a real poet never dies, although "the work of art destroys its creator".
One can watch Le Testament d'Orphée as a comedy based on gags. The gags are direct variations of the Méliès tradition: reverse motion, slow motion, appearances and disappearances. "A wave of joy has carried my farewell film". Some favourite gags on this viewing: the machine which can make one a celebrity in a moment (torn autographs become poems, songs, novels), "don't ask me why!" - amoureux intellectuels - even painting an orchid the poet creates a self-portrait - the court where the hardest punishment is to be condemned to live - meeting oneself, who pretends he doesn't even notice - if one waits too long, one turns into a lobby
Cocteau is a master of dream imagery, with recurrent features such as: - sleepwalking: slowed-down walking with eyes closed - against a heavy wind (from beyond... ?) - along high, huge walls and through heavy doors...
In Finland, there is a topical debate on Romani beggars, begging having been almost extinct here until recently. Pointedly, Cocteau portrays the Romani as protectors of the Poet.
One of my favourite scenes in all cinema (don't ask me why) is where Cocteau recreates the orchid via reverse motion to the tune of Bach's minuet played by a flute.