Listen to the music and click on the pictures!!
Yesterday, I went to the ‘’Cinémathèque de Paris’’. It’s been a long time, and I was glad to return.
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.
The retrospective of the cinémathèque also shows a restored version of ‘’La Belle et la Bête’’ , ‘’Les dames du Bois de Boulogne’’, ‘’Les Enfants terribles’’ , ‘’Orphée’’, ‘’L’éternel Retour’’…. All of them are masterpieces.
« 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….).