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Black Orpheus film image

Cinema Salon: Black Orpheus


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Based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Black Orpheus presents a universal story about the strength of love, what we do for love, the pain of losing whom we love and not being able to change the past. The film explodes in the exotic sun, music and colour of Rio De Janeiro’s lavish Carnival. The power of music is the main theme, and the soundtrack was such a big hit that it introduced the bossa nova to the world. The radio stations, cafés and nightclubs of Europe and North America were filled with the unique sounds of bossa nova and samba, and the film popularized a romantic obsession with all things Brazilian. It is also one of only four films to have won both the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

Screening in 35mm

“From the moment of its first appearance, at the Cannes Film Festival in 1959—where it won the Palme d’Or—it was clear that Black Orpheus was a very special film. Taking the ancient Greek myth of a youth who travels to the land of the dead to bring back the woman he loves, and transporting it to the slums of modern day Rio de Janeiro, this bittersweet romantic tragedy has charmed audiences the world over with its beauty, color, and—above all—its music. In fact, so important is Black Orpheus’ musical dimension that you might say the film’s roots aren’t in images but in sounds.

Though bossa nova had been the cornerstone of Latin American music for many years, it’s safe to say that prior to the release of Black Orpheus the world at large had never really heard it before. The film changed the world of music overnight. Its composers, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfá, became international stars. The film’s main themes, “Manhã de Carnaval” and “O Nosso Amor,” permeated the public consciousness in a way that hadn’t been seen since Anton Karas’ unforgettable zither theme for The Third Man. But make no mistake, none of these musical glories would have been possible without the film that holds them all together—Black Orpheus.” David Ehrenstein

A riotous, rapturous explosion of sound and color, Black Orpheus is less about Orpheus’s doomed love for Eurydice than about Camus’s love for cinema at its most gestural and kinetic.

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

This is a movie about the marriage between sound and image, and the sound is wearing the pants in the relationship.

Boston Globe


Light snacks – chicken and cheese coxinhas supplied by Brazilliant Café and Catering – included with your ticket.


Guest Presenter: Sal Ferreras (artist, educator, producer, and advocate for global music and creative collaborations)

Learn More


Cinema Salon is VIFF’s longest running series, almost as old as our cinema itself! Host Melanie Friesen invites a distinguished guest to present a favourite film of their choosing. The evening begins with an introduction to the movie, and our guest will stay to lead a discussion with the audience.


Marcel Camus


Breno Mello, Marpessa Dawn, Lourdes de Oliveira

Country of Origin





In Portuguese with English subtitles

100 min

Book Tickets

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Guest Presenter

Sal Fererras headshot

Sal Ferreras

Sal Ferreras has been a fixture in Vancouver for the past forty years. His eclectic artistry has infused his work as artist, educator, producer, and as an advocate for global music and creative collaborations. As a percussionist he has performed, recorded, and toured with outstanding artists in the classical, world, jazz, and pop music world. His collaborations on the Vancouver scene have included music, theatre, dance, literature, spoken word, TV, and radio. In 2010 Sal was the recipient of the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Award for Music and is a member of the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame.



Sacha Gordine


Marcel Camus, Jacques Viot


Jean Bourgoin


Andrée Feix

Original Music

Luiz Bonfá, Antonio Carlos Jobim

Production Design

Pierre Guffroy