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Blood of a Poet

France, 1930 (MIFF 1958, Programme 35)

Director: Jean Cocteau

Le Sang d'Un Poete was commissioned by Vicomte dc Noailles, an enterprising patron of the twenties who also provided the money for L'Age d'Or. Never, perhaps has any other man produced two such inflammatory films within a year of each other.

The film deals with one of Cocteau's favourite themes: the poet's ecstatic conflict between the real world and the unknowable &ndash: the latter containing the mystery both of death and poetic inspiration. The poet must track his inspiration to the source; he must face and know death. for "poets in order to live, often have to die, and to use up not only 'the red blood of the heart, but the white blood of the soul'."

The world of Le Sang d'Un Poete takes no account of the usual workings of time and space. A dreamlike territory of enigmatic recollections and trances, its action centres on the squalid looking Hotel de Folies Drammatigues.

The film remains interesting in the light of Cocteau's later work in the cinema, for it embodies &ndash: in subjective and not always clarified form many ideas to flower in succeeding films.

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