James S. Williams
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His name was Jean
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This chapter discusses four key modes of Jean Cocteau's filmic practice: his status as an auteur, his role and range as a collaborator; his commitment to experimentation; and his importance as a film theorist. It begins with a basic question: what type of filmmaker was Cocteau? Cocteau is usually regarded as a 'literary filmmaker', part of a peculiarly French tradition of writers who also became innovatory filmmakers. Cocteau's long career was one of consistent experimentation in style and the mechanics of form and it embraced a range of traditions and disciplines. Cocteau's career was a series of turning points and transformations. During the 1950s Cocteau found refuge at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in the South of France due to a rich patron, Francine Weisweiller, who invited him to share her villa Santo-Sospir near Villefranche-sur-mer. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.

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