A new exhibition about Jean Cocteau, one of France best-known directors, is currently taking place there. It’s been fifty years since the death of Cocteau (11 October 1963). This exhibition is a ‘’hommage’’ to a fantastic man who was a poet, a critic and a director.
Jean Coteau entrusted precious documents and prints of his films to Henri Langlois. Original Posters, precious work, photographs, costumes and objects of some of the most influential films of all time are exposed. For example, the ‘horse-man’ costume from the movie ‘’Le Testament d’Orphée’’ and the fancy dress designed by Marcel Escoffier for ‘’ Belle et la Bête’’. Furthermore, handwritten dialogues between Cocteau and Henri Langlois, or Truffaut can be found.
Cocteau only became a director in his 40s, after he was already a famous writer and poet. In 1932, he published his first film ‘’Le Sang d’un Poète’’. Cocteau became a tutelary figure and a source of inspiration for the ‘‘nouvelle vague’’ directors – a new and younger generation of filmmakers. Cocteau was also an emblematic figure of the festival de Cannes in the 1950es where his strong, and lively influence could be felt.
He also supported numerous initiatives such as the ‘’Objectif 49 association’’, which organized the famous ‘’Biarritz Festival du Film Maudit’’ in 1949. Using his pen, his voice or his name, he endeavored to promote and defend actors, films and directors he considered significant, beginning with Orson Welles to whom he devoted one of the very first books in French. He inspired together with Henri Langlois, a new generation like Jacques Demy or François Truffaut.
« le postulat du conte exige la foi et la bonne foi de l’enfance. Je veux dire qu’il faut y croire à l’origine et admettre que cueillir une rose puisse entraîner une famille dans l’aventure, qu’un homme puisse être changé en bête et vice versa » Cocteau dans son livre : la belle et la bête, Journal d’un film
‘’Beauty and the Beast’‘ a fairytale without fairies’, adapted by Cocteau from Jeanne-Marie Lepince de Beaumont book, is doubtlessly his most famous film and marked his return to directing, fifteen years after his first attempt, ‘The Blood of a Poet’. Thanks to the technical contribution of the young René Clément, Cocteau overcame the multiple shooting difficulties, as shown in his ‘Journal d’un Film,’ published in 1946, while ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was enjoying a triumph on the screens.
The testament of Orpheus (1960)
This movie was Cocteau’s final feature, his film Testament. The film was produced thanks to François Truffaut, together with a number of friends invited to make appearances as ‘intelligent extras’ (Jean Marais, Pablo Picasso….).
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Today I went to a rather unusual event. My friend Lisa is now studying architecture in Paris. I thought that visiting her would be a good opportunity for me to go back to Paris (I am now studying Film in London). I looked out for some stuff to do and a very good friend told me about an event that combined architecture with film. I thought: this sounds really nice for both of us (once more my assumption that Paris is the city where you can just do everything, had been confirmed).
So we went to the ”Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine“ next to the Eiffel Tower. They have a new program called ”Archiciné’ . Every first Tuesday of the month there will be a presentation of a movie in association with architecture. The movie is followed by a discussion, which is lead by a famous architect, and focuses on the movie itself and the presented architectural design. There is also a question and answer session, which engages the public. And guess what: The entire presentation is for free as long as you don’t come too late.
“The Fountainhead” is a 1949 American film directed by King Vidor, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Ayn Rand, who also wrote the script for the film adaptation.
It is about an individualistic architect (Gary Cooper) who prefers to strive in obscurity rather than negotiate his artistic and intimate vision, following his battle to practice what the public sees as modern architecture, which he believes to be superior, despite a society focused on tradition-worship…..
The movie is a romantic yet rather impossible love story, which contains a moral lesson. A real soap opera, just how we like the movies from those days.
Today, once again, I went to the Grand Action. This time, however, I choose a Japanese masterwork. Tokyo Story is a film about the relationship between parents and their children. 136 minutes, a long time for a movie playing at a slow pace in a completely different cultural sphere. It took me one hour to really get into the story. Once you are deep inside, it is difficult to get back to reality. It is remarkable how a totally different culture can affect you. Personally, I have difficulties to criticize the actors due to their unsimilar way of acting. What I can tell though, is that the story and the acting left an impression on me. Yasujirō Ozu movie motivated me to expand my understanding of exotic motion pictures and that one has to go to Tokyo once in a lifetime. .
Tokyo Story is often viewed as Ozu’s chef d’oeuvre and has show up a number times in the British Film Institute lists of the greatest films ever made (Nr:3 at the moment).
Today I went to see ”Shadows”. The 1959 Film is the only Cassavetes movie made without a full script. The film is based on improvisations. Cassavetes independent picture is about the interracial relations, a taboo subject at that time, during the Beat Generations years in New York. Most of the actors were class mates or volunteers. His movie won the Critics Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1960. I can’t compare this movie to other films because I can’t remember having seen anything alike. It left a warm, emotional but also strange impression on me.
Hugh Laurie provided an incredible atmosphere. It was a mix of blues music and stand up comedy . Funnily enough, the luxembourgish audience gave a huge vibe and succeeded to get two encores. One of the best concert I’ve seen in a long time.
: kiss of fire
Hugh Laurie : ”I have resolved to forge on, deeper into the forest of American music that has enchanted me since I was a small boy. .And the further I go, the more bewitched I become – both by the songs and by the people I have been lucky enough to play them with.”
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Music from the N°5 advertising film from 1990
“La star,” by Ridley Scott, with Carole Bouquet
Music : “Sea of Love“
The Palais de Tokyo in Paris, opened to the public their new exhibition ”N°5 Culture Chanel”. The museum’s space is changed into some sort of a runway of glass cases, filled with more than 200 works of art by Picasso, Man Ray,Dali, Stravinsky and many more. It shows the past and the presence of Chanel’s story. Followed by a room which Includes all Chanel N°5 Books and all the past Chanel N°5 Commercials (From Catherine Deneuve to Brad Pitt).
”When in contact with certain men who bore within them the certainty of surviving through their own works, her tone became more assertive when she spoke of herself. She had adopted this self-assured language of immortals”
Françoise Giroud ”La femme de la semaine : Chanel”, in L’Express, 17 August 1956, p 9.
Birth of Chanel N°5
”It seems that the history of CHANEL N°5 began at the very moment when Gabrielle Chanel heard of the death of her love Boy Capel, in December 1919.
Arthur Capel, known as ‘Boy’, held a central place in the history of Gabrielle Chanel. Her first great love, was a well-read man who made her an avid reader. In his company, she became an avid reader and once he’d disappeared from her life, she pursued her lingering love for him through the books he’d asked her to read. This bereavement would fuel an intuition, and Gabrielle Chanel would sublimate it through the creation of her first perfume: CHANEL N°5. It was born of emptiness and of absence, closely linked to Gabrielle Chanel’s destiny, reminiscence of a love that was violently interrupted but that she would cherish all her life. By sublimating bereavement in creation, Chanel indulged in an eternal perfume.”