Orpheus' Song ***
Updated: Feb 23
Starring: Sascha Weingarten, Julien Lickert, Henry Morales
Director: Tor Iben
Isn’t it lovely when bromance turns to romance? Because that happens all the time, right? Or maybe just in gay movies.
Two best friends from Berlin win a holiday to Corfu. Philipp (Weingarten) is obsessively trying to bulk at the gym, monitored by his buddy Enis (Lickert), who tolerates his narcissism through gritted teeth. At the hotel Philipp wants to continue his exact same gym routine as at home, so Enis persuades him to go out and explore the island, where they end up lost and having to sleep outdoors. Eventually they encounter a local man called Hercules (Morales) who takes them back to his cave, plays music on his flute and tells them not to eat the forbidden pomegranates he has been given by a water nymph. Of course, they do, and before long the nature of their relationship changes.
This is a format that we’ve seen before, throwing ancient mythology at a modern story and somehow giving it supernatural power from beyond the realm of classicism. The title, of course, refers to the Greek musician who, according to legend, could charm any living being with his music. He was also the one to save Eurydice from Hades after she was imprisoned there for eating his forbidden pomegranate… starting to ring bells?
The Greek myths jar with the machismo world from whence these two hail. It’s unclear whether the director wants us to believe the characters’ love springs from this mythological spell or whether these are a manifestation of their psychology, but that ambiguity is frustrating in a film that is otherwise black and white. Plus, Enis seems to increasingly dislike his friend, so when they eventually do get it on, it feels like a total bolt from the blue.