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Jean Cocteau, the first French writer to take cinema seriously, was as old and young as cinema itself; he made his first film in 1925 and completed his last film when he was 70. This book first deals with the issue of the type of film maker that Cocteau was: as a auteur, as a collaborator, as an experimenter, and as a theorist. It takes the pulse of Cocteau's cinema by examining in detail his ground-breaking first film Le Sang d'un poète', and argues that the film offers a vision of the potential of film for Cocteau. The book traces the evolution of realism and fantasy in Cocteau's work by introducing a main element, theatre, and assesses the full gamut of Cocteau's formal inclinations: from the legend and fantasy of L'Eternel retour to the spectacular fairytale of La Belle et la bête; from the 'film théâtral' of L'Aigle à deux têtes to the domestic melodrama Les Parents terribles which 'detheatricalises' his original play. In Le Testament d'Orphée, all the various formal tendencies of Cocteau's cinema come together but with the additional element of time conceived of as history, and the book re-evaluates the general claim of Cocteau's apparently missed encounter with history. The book considers whether the real homosexual element of Cocteau's cinema surfaces more at the most immediate level of sound and image by concentrating on the specifics of Cocteau's filmic style, in particular camera angle, framing and reverse-motion photography.

James S. Williams

centred on the body in action (agir) and, in the words of Cocteau, ‘sans goût’ (‘without taste’). It shocked those in the audience who perceived only bluff and insolence but it disarmed and seduced the majority, and immediately inspired the creation of new and far more challenging male roles. By the same token, Marais helped to retheatricalise French cinema in the best sense. His performance in La Belle et la bête , according

in Jean Cocteau
James S. Williams

was involved at every stage of its production. He formalised properly here for the first time his notion of cinematic poetry as the point of intersection between the real and the unreal. L’Eternel retour/La Belle et la bête Shot in 16mm by Roger Hubert in March 1943 at the Studios de la Victorine in Nice, L’Eternel retour met with immediate critical and public acclaim when was released later that

in Jean Cocteau
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James S. Williams

the boathouse; now begins their real life. Note the reference to Cocteau and Marais’s personal life, their dog Moulouk 4 La Belle et la bête , 1946. Bêlle and la bête take a walk on the wild side and set up another tableau. The statuary is baroque, the poses theatrical, the lighting

in Jean Cocteau
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James S. Williams

great cinematographic genres, from the early avant-garde with Le Sang d’un poète (1930–32) to fairytale fantasy with La Belle et la bête (1946), historical melodrama with L’Aigle à deux têtes (1948), domestic bourgeois drama and vaudeville with Les Parents terribles (1948) (regarded by Cocteau himself as his greatest success), detective thriller and mystery with Orphée (1950), to finally the

in Jean Cocteau
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James S. Williams

asynchronous with their period: Le Sang d’un poète bucked the prevailing trend of surrealism, La Belle et la bête appeared during the heyday of Italian neorealism, L’Aigle à deux têtes arrived during the psychoanalytic boom, and Orphée , released some nine years before Marcel Camus’s explosive take on the Orphic myth set in the Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Orfeu Negro (1959), entered directly into a

in Jean Cocteau
Fairytale, fable and myth in the Demy-monde
Darren Waldron

see Hill 2005: 40–44). Deliberate solecisms allow Demy to alter the atmosphere of his adaptation and destabilise the tale’s principal time-situating qualifier. As Berthomé has noted, the Blue King’s costume evokes Henri II (1519–59), the beast’s outfit in Cocteau’s La Belle et la bête and late 1960s fashion in the glittery blue tones and shiny silver boots. The Princess’s dresses are inspired by a Louis XV (1710–74) style, while moving images of clouds are projected onto her weather-dress (1996: 245). Temporal and cultural distinctions are apposed and transcended

in Jacques Demy
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body and sexuality in reverse motion
James S. Williams

of La Belle et la bête , according to Cocteau, lay a work by Gustave Doré comprising Perseus, Andromeda and the dragon which he had just had cast into bronze. Virtually erect in his stirrups between the wings of his horse Bellerophon, Persues holds a steel lance prising the monster’s jaws as he swings above the mêlèe of Andromeda and the volutes of scales. It is as if the lance were itself vibrating and the hero and

in Jean Cocteau
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Peter William Evans

explore in Perrault’s tale was the mother–daughter rivalry. It is the queen’s narcissistic deathbed wish that triggers the princess’s narrative trajectory in the fairy tale. Demy goes a step further: mother is daughter in his Donkey Skin. Just as Cocteau cast Jean Marais as both beast and prince in La Belle et la bête/Beauty and the Beast (1946), Demy cast Deneuve as Donkey Skin’s princess and dying queen. The embodied

in From perversion to purity
Ben McCann

been particularly admonished for its nostalgic embracing of a pre-​war aesthetic that had, by post-​Liberation, become ‘all too familiar and predictable’ (Hayward 2005: 170).15 Most damning of all was that Carné had not left France at all during the Occupation. Panique did not fit into the bracket of poetic works that had emerged during the war (films such as Carné’s Les Visiteurs du soir [1942] and Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la bête [1946]). It had far more in common with the ‘black realism’ of Le Quai des brumes (1938, which had also starred Simon and featured

in Julien Duvivier