Once upon a time, in a world of magic and wonder, the true love of a beautiful girl may finally dispel the torment of a feral but gentle-hearted beast. Beauty and the Beast (La belle et la bête) is a landmark feat of cinematic fantasy in which master filmmaker Jean Cocteau conjures spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death that have never been equaled. The Criterion Collection proudly presents the original film version of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy-tale masterpiece. —The Criterion Collection
More than simply one of avant-garde’s most successful and influential filmmakers, Jean Cocteau ranked among the century’s most diversely talented artists, also enjoying success as an accomplished poet, novelist, and illustrator. Cocteau was born July 5, 1889, in France and was raised primarily in Paris. Educated at the Lycee Condorcet, he became infatuated with another boy, Pierre Dargelos; their relationship was never consummated, and Pierre’s ghost often haunted Cocteau’s later adult work, his image embodying recurring themes of longing and solitude. He made his first splash while still a teen, reading his poetry at the Theatre Femina as a protégé of the actor Edouard de Max and becoming a darling of the intellectual set. By the middle of World War I, he was composing for the Ballets Russes, for Parade, which featured decor by no less a figure than Pablo Picasso, and music from Erik Satie, premiering in 1917. His subsequent wartime experiences later became the subject of a 1923 novel… read more
I've just watched this again last night (on DVD), and was surprised by the film's original main title sequence since I've originally seen a different opening version on VHS. Cocteau wrote and drew (even erased) almost everything as the film opened with its credits that I'd see. "OMG! It's Cocteau himself" My first time watching this moment. :)
Like a piece of poetry coming to life or a stage opera, Cocteau's most famous film, Beauty and the Beast (1946) stands tall as being one of the iconic, if not beautiful, fantasies in cinema. One critic at the time, called it a reflection of WWII home conditions in France, but he does more than something politically obtuse, he soaks his audience into a film that is a painting and interacting with the young at heart.
Jean Cocteau has a secret weapon: Jean Marais’ eyes.
The Keep plays as part of a 10-film Michael Mann retrospective at Chicago’s Doc Films on October 5th . *** A little fairy tale: wayward German
THE WANDERING JULIEN During his American phase, exiled from France in the occupation, the great Julien Duvivier made an anthology film called
The story of a young maiden’s journey that leads her to discover the true feelings deep in her heart. Beautiful film, beautiful fairy tale. A magical film filled with fantasy and adventure. The words… read review
Beautiful and original stagecraft; even the Beast looks genuinely scary at times. The film is mostly a faithful adaptation of the story, except that here the beast’s metamorphosis does not seem like… read review