Jean Cocteau’s Orphic Trilogy

The Blood of a Poet
A factory chimney starts to collapse. A young poet in a room sketching a series of faces is shocked when the mouth of one of the faces comes alive. The poet rubs off the mouth on to his hand. After an erotic interlude with the transplanted mouth, the young poet wipes the mouth on to a statue, which then comes to life and forces the poet to walk within a mirror in the room, which leads to the corridor of a mysterious hotel. After witnessing a number of shocking scenes in the hotel, the poet is forced to commit ritual suicide. Crowned in laurel leaves, the now resurrected poet flees the mirror, destroys the statue, and becomes a statue himself. In a courtyard, a group of schoolboys stage a snowball fight. One of the boys is killed with a snowball which has a rock hidden in its center. The poet, now a society cardsharp, plays a game of cards in which he cheats and loses. In disgrace, he again shoots himself in the head. A glittering group of celebrities watch these events, and applaud the suicide. The woman with whom he had been playing tears up the cards, leaves the courtyard, and is finally seen in an improvised coffin, residing in the state of the “mortal tedium of immortality.” The factory chimney collapses entirely; the entire film has thus taken place in an instant.

Testament of Orpheus
Outside time and reality, the experiences of a poet. The judgement of the young poet by Heurtebise and the Princess, the Gypsies, the palace of Pallas Athena, the spear of the Goddess which pierces the poet’s heart, the temptation of the Sphinx, the flight of Oedipus and the final Assumption.