Orfeu Negro

Posted: March 24th, 2022

This week we examined Brazilian Samba, a style of rhythmically-complex music combining musical traditions of Portuguese colonialism, indigenous Brazilian folk music, and elements of African traditional music/dance cultures retained from a period of slavery ending in 1828.

For this assignment, you will view the seminal Marcel Camus film from 1959 entitled, Orfeu Negro, a retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus through the lens of music, culture, and race in 1950s Braziliain Carnaval scene. (a link is provided in these directions to a YouTube video with English subtitles).

Your task is to construct an essay of three full pages in length responding to the following prompt:

Orfeu Negro represents an examination of Brazilian culture through two equally important perspectives: 1) Music; and 2) Race Relations. Construct an essay in which you choose one of those two themes and discuss how the events of the film help to describe that theme with respect to Brazilian culture. Your thesis statement, and the focus of your essay, should clearly describe your conclusions about Marcel Camus’ (film creator) opinions of Brazilian culture through his portrayal of your chosen cultural element (either music or race relations). Please follow these guidelines when completing the assignment:

a) Include ONLY the name of the course as a heading. DO NOT include your name at the top of the paper. It will be assumed that the identity of the student writer is the same as the Blackboard account from which it was posted.

b) You may consult the events of the film and the three required reading assignments for this week as source material for your essay. You may NOT consult any other sources, including other students and online resources.

c) You should provide both internal citations (Author and page number) as well as a SEPARATE works cited page (not included in the page count) using the MLA style of citation. Here is possibly the only exception in this class about consulting online materials. You MAY consult online resources about proper MLA style citations. You may also cite the movie itself, for which I will provide you with the full citation:

Orfeu Negro. Directed by Marcel Camus, performances by Breno Mello and Marpessa Dawn, Tupan Filmes, 1959.

You may cite the movie within your paper by providing the following information: (Camus 1959)

d) the paper should meet the length requirement of 3 full pages, double spaced, no larger than 12 font, default margins. Only .docx files and .pdf files will be accepted.

e) paper submissions with words that cannot be assessed by Academic Integrity software will NOT be accepted. Documents meant to fool or otherwise evade the use of such software constitute a violation of the Academic Honesty policy and will be treated as plagiarism. Examples include but are not limited to:

1. uploading an image of a .docx or .pdf file which does not allow for copying/pasting of words within the file

2. files containing substituted non-English characters disguised to look like English

3. Inserting “white text,” between words

If these and other dubious practices are foreign to you, good! While I never expect students to engage in academic dishonesty, it is an unfortunate reality that some students misdirect their creativity and effort in ways that seek to present others’ work as their own. If you have any questions or doubts whether a passage in your response may constitute plagiarism, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to help. No student will, nor should they, be penalized for striving to uphold principles of Academic Honesty.


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