LA BELLE ET LA BETE
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
1946, Janus Films, 93 min, Dir: Jean Cocteau

The first feature directed by Jean Cocteau was a labor of love that attests to the imagination and perseverance of Cocteau and his entire production team in the face of severe deprivations posed by the Occupation. Its Gustave Doré sets and costumes by Christian Berard, its Vermeer-inspired compositions by Henri Alekan (whose cinematography Cocteau characterized as having the "soft gleam of hand-polished old silver"), the Beast's subtle makeup, the fantastic park and architecture of the Beast's castle, the Chateau de Raray, and the delicate beauty of Josette Day all conspired to produce one of the most enchanting films ever made.


PEAU D’ÂNE
DONKEY SKIN
1970, Janus Films, 90 min, France, Dir: Jacques Demy

Jacques Demy's strange, lovely film tells the story of a devoted king (Jean Marais) who promises his dying wife (Catherine Deneuve, a Demy favorite) that his new queen will be equal to her in beauty. Of course, no one can compare to Deneuve, which leaves the queen’s daughter (also played by Deneuve) as the sole contender. Heeding the advice of a bizarre fairy godmother (Delphine Seyrig), the princess delays her father's incestuous advances using a series of impossible dressmaking challenges. In French with English subtitles.


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