(1999)4Tom WienerIn remaking a beloved cult film like Black Orpheus, noted filmmaker Carlos Diegues has taken a big chance, and it pays off. Both films can be enjoyed on their own merits: Black Orpheus for its more elegant pacing and bigger emphasis on music, Orfeu for its updated touches, like having its main character composing music on his computer. The film's romantic drama is underscored by the character of Lucinho. He and Orfeu were boyhood pals, and like James Cagney and Pat O'Brien in Angels With Dirty Faces, they've taken separate paths in life. Lucinho's thugs intimidate with their automatic weaponry, but Orfeu's arsenal is only his music and charisma. His parents are also respected in the community, because his father ministers to the poor of the slum that surrounds their middle-class home. Diegues also shows how Rio's Carnaval has turned from a street celebration to a major event, with competition among local bands and colossal public viewing stands for the parades. Toni Garrido is effortlessly attractive in the title role; if Patricia Franca as Euridice is a bit weak dramatically, she is still lovely enough to carry off the role of his muse. The camera snakes in and out of the homes and up and down the streets of Carioca Hill, allowing us to glimpse its residents' beauty and despair, almost in the same shot.