Introduction to Orpheus

A. S. Hamrah at n+1:

Orpheus is a film that deals in the interpretation of signs and meaning. It is one of the few films that deals with that in a direct and palpable way. Others from the same period as Orpheus are detective films and film noirs. This decoding is not just subtext nor is it merely somehow inscribed in the film for us to discover using our critical faculties. It is the film’s subject matter. That’s why Orpheus was also called, when it came out, “a detective story from the beyond.”

The poet Orpheus, played by Jean Marais, one of Cocteau’s lovers, here in a contemporary-to-1950 setting, becomes obsessed with transcribing the random words and numbers he hears on his car radio. He doesn’t know it at first, but these are emanations from beyond reality. In other words, they are poetry.

more here.