Sunday, 10 October 2010
La Belle et La Béte
Having seen the Disney version of this film, i was quite excited to see what the original would be like as that is what it was based on.
Throughout watching this film, i could see how parts of it related to the Disney version such as the father being lost in the forest, and the Beast letting Belle go home to her father. The classic fairy tale is given remarkable treatment by Jean Cocteau as he tells the tale of a beautiful girl who falls in the love with a tortured but charming Beast (played by Jean Maris) who in turn falls for her.
The main morals that stand out in this film are that of greed, humanity and jealousy. The greed and jealousy mainly being protrayed by the two sisters who dress themselves like royals whereas Belle is seen in rags during he first few scenes of the film. The jealousy on the part of the sisters is when Belle returns from the Beast's castle dressed like a queen, for they do not recognise her at first, then try to steal the Beast's gold.
Cocteau managed to create a film that is practically poetic in the way that it is made as well as including dramatic theatrical scenes and characters. I found this quote from IMDB "This famed Jean Cocteau film of the 1940s plays like a poem, moving across the screen." The Beast for example walks round like a king, which he is in his own castle, and makes Belle his queen.
I would have to say the main 'theme' of this film is to never judge a book by its cover because although the Beast is a beast on the outside, inside he is human with human emotions. Belle experiences this when at first she is repulsed by him, but gradually sees him for what he really is and falls for him; transforming him into a handsome prince and freeing him from his beastly curse.
The film also includes a lot of dreamlike sequences such as the big finale when the 'beast' takes Belle and flys away with her. The Guardian said of this film "a film that dared to be naive, asking its audience to revert to childhood, the better to accept its practical magic."This all adds to the theatrical poetry of the film as it takes the audience beyond the limits of the film and its story. This quote i found comes from filmrefence.com- "La Belle et la bête is an excellent example of Cocteau's continual concern in his film work to provide a "realism of the unreal."
Overall i thought the film was good in the way it used theatrical performance and setting, but compared to todays films its not one I'd readily sit down to watch.