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Orpheus' Song

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Sep 20, 2019
'Orpheus' Song'
'Orpheus' Song'  

Writer-director Tor Iben tinges a sweet love story with a little classical mythology in "Orpheus' Song."

Philipp (Sascha Weingarten) and his friend Enis (Julien Lickert) are fanatical gym bros. Philipp has a little more time to pursue working out - until he lands a job, that is, which happens almost despite himself. Enis, meantime, has his studies to keep up with, as well as his girlfriend, Kristina (Kristina Kostiv). Still, when Philipp enters a contest for a trip to Greece and then wins the prize, it's not too difficult for him to persuade Enis to take some time out and join him.

What better place than Greece to explore erotic options and keep oneself open to the operations of fate, chance, and godly interventions? Although by this point in the film we've seen Philipp awkwardly flirt with other men, he chats up a woman at a bar, as if to see just how enchanted the island might be. (It doesn't end well.)

But that doesn't mean there's no enchantment to be found; when the two get lost looking for an ancient village, they cross paths with a young man named Herkules (Heart Morales) who takes them to the cave where he lives and offers them booze and pomegranates, but warns them off eating the fruit. According to Herkules, one of the pomegranates was a gift from a water nymph; eat it, and who knows what might happen?

Philipp and Enis awaken in Herkules' cave the next morning to find themselves alone. Their guest has vanished - but he's left them some supplies, including the mysterious pomegranate. Can anyone resist forbidden fruit? And even if they do, can the two young men resist the far deeper enchantment that has drawn them together from the start?

Weingarten and Lickert bring chemistry to the screen, along with a spark that Iben wisely allows to smolder before bringing it thrillingly to life. But then a new question arises: Will that almost mystical experience of love evaporate once the guys return to their regular lives? Or will they be transformed?

The film has its campy moments (not the least of which has Kristina intuiting the attraction between Enis and Philip and assuring Enis that she's fine with the two guys having a sexual adventure - especially if she were allowed to watch), and it has a few melodramatic beats, but nothing that pulls the story off course or breaks the spell. This sweet charmer is made by a company called "FeelBad Films," but it defies the corporate name: Love is always a risk, but you'll feel good about their chances.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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