There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
With its lavish array of native, African, and European traditions, Brazil is not exactly short on myths. So why transplant the ancient Greek fable of Orpheus’ quest to rescue Eurydice from the underworld to Rio de Janeiro? There are many answers to that question, and not all of them flatter Black Orpheus, the 1959 Marcel Camus extravaganza selected as both best film at Cannes and best foreign film at the Oscars. Yet even those who accuse the French director of the Western Hemispheric equivalent of Orientalism have to admit that his movie is a striking spectacle, bursting with light, action, color, and sound. Camus’ Orpheus is a philandering tram driver and amateur Carnaval star, and his netherworld is Rio at the height of its pre-Lenten bacchanalia—glittering, throbbing, and a bit menacing. There’s time to debate the concept’s authenticity later; while it’s unspooling, the film is near-pure sensation. The film shows at 1 p.m. and 7:40 p.m. (see Showtimes for weekly schedule) at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.25. (301) 495-6700. (Mark Jenkins)