Jean Cocteau

Testament of Orpheus

Testament of Orpheus

In his last film, legendary writer/artist/filmmaker Jean Cocteau portrays an 18th-century poet who travels through time on a quest for divine wisdom. In a mysterious wasteland, he meets several symbolic phantoms that bring about his death and resurrection. With an eclectic cast that includes Pablo Picasso, Jean-Pierre Leáud, Jean Marais and Yul Brynner, Testament of Orpheus (Le Testament de Orphée) brings full circle the journey Cocteau began in The Blood of a Poet, an exploration of the torturous relationship between the artist and his creations.

Film Info

  • Jean Cocteau
  • France
  • 1959
  • 80 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • French
  • Spine #69

Special Features

  • New digital transfer, with restored sound
  • New English subtitle translation
  • Villa Santo Sospir, a 16 mm color film by Cocteau featuring many of the locations used in The Testament of Orpheus
  • A collection of Cocteau’s writings on the film
  • A Cocteau bibliofilmography

Available In

Collector's Set

The Orphic Trilogy

The Orphic Trilogy

DVD Box Set

3 Discs

Ships Jun 14, 2018

$58.96

Out Of Print

Special Features

  • New digital transfer, with restored sound
  • New English subtitle translation
  • Villa Santo Sospir, a 16 mm color film by Cocteau featuring many of the locations used in The Testament of Orpheus
  • A collection of Cocteau’s writings on the film
  • A Cocteau bibliofilmography

Testament of Orpheus
Cast
Jean Cocteau
The Poet
Edouard Dermithe
Cégeste
María Casares
The princess
Jean Marais
Oedipus
Charles Aznavour
Himself
Yul Brynner
The court usher
Françoise Christophe
The nurse
Nicole Courcel
The young mother
Henri Crémieux
The professor
Daniel Gélin
The intern
Jean-Pierre Léaud
The schoolboy
Pablo Picasso
Himself
François Périer
Heurtebise
Credits
Director
Jean Cocteau
Written and directed by
Jean Cocteau
With technical assistance from
Claude Pinoteau
Cinematography
Roland Pontoizeau
Costumes and sculptures by
Janine Janet
Sets
Pierre Guffroy
Editing
Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte
Sound
Pierre Bertrand
Sound
René Sarazin
Makeup
Alexandre Marcus
Dame Distraite’s wardrobe by
Cristobal Balenciaga
Some special effects by
Pierre Durin
Masks
Bebko
Music
Georges Auric
Producer
Jean Thuillier

Explore

Jean Cocteau

Writer, Director

“When I make a film, it is a sleep in which I am dreaming,” Jean Cocteau once wrote. That evocation of his cinema as an ethereal, unconscious alternate reality was no mere philosophical statement; the approach can be felt in the mood, texture, and structure of his movies. A true artist of the cinematic form, Cocteau, in just a handful of films—some of which he directed, some of which he wrote, but to all of which he contributed his unique vision and craft—created an unparalleled dream world. He was also a poet, novelist, playwright, and painter, and all of those disciplines are reflected in his films—from the prewar, avant-garde, surrealist The Blood of a Poet to the fairy-tale masterpiece Beauty and the Beast to the Jean-Pierre Melville collaboration Les enfants terribles and the contemporary takes on classical mythology Orpheus and Testament of Orpheus. Each of these works is a visually innovative exploration of art, sex, love, and death—mementos of one of cinema’s most richly creative minds.