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2,830 Ratings

The Blood of a Poet

Le sang d'un poète

Directed by Jean Cocteau
France, 1932
Fantasy, Avant-Garde


In a poet’s room, an armless statue abruptly comes to life. It invites the poet to step through a mirror and to discover another world. Strange places and characters present themselves to him. The poet tears himself away from these twisted fascinations and returns, with some difficulty, to his room.

Our take

Poet-playwright-painter-filmmaker-novelist Jean Cocteau irrevocably changed the expressive potential of cinema with his first feature, The Blood of a Poet. Visually transcendent and playful, the film courageously introduced all of the dark romantic surrealism of Cocteau’s art to the moving image.

The Blood of a Poet Directed by Jean Cocteau
The displaced narcissism of the artist has perhaps never been depicted so frankly as in this early short by the French master, in a scene where a man paints a mouth that comes to life as he makes love to it. Elsewhere, Cocteau teases out other aspects of artistic creation, even depicting mythic inspiration as something close to a legitimate history of poets and sculptors. Cocteau’s special effects bring inanimate objects seemingly to life, both indebted and uncontrolled by their makers.
March 16, 2016
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Adding cinema to a résumé that already includes writing, theater, painting, sculpture, and self-mythology, Jean Cocteau approaches it as a parlor riddle, a hermaphroditic catalogue, the ultimate medium for the aesthete’s search for the ineffable and the sublime.
August 20, 2012
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Jean Cocteau’s first film is one of the most forthright attempts to fashion cinema after the manner of poetry. It’s defiantly non-narrative, taking place within an artist’s dream and advancing a largely metaphoric visual language… This doesn’t hold a candle to Cocteau’s later movie masterpieces (LES PARENTS TERRIBLES, ORPHEUS), but it’s still a stunning example of how a neophyte filmmaker can make the medium entirely his own.
August 19, 2011
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