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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.

See also...

FRONTIER OF DAWN

France, 2008
“The director paints a contemporary yet timeless world in which the intensity of human feelings is the main distraction.” - Screen International ... On assignment, professional photographer Fran&… More »

ORPHEUS

France, 1950
There is a story that in 1912 Diaghilev said to Jean Cocteau in a half serious mood, “Etonne-moi” (Astonish me) - and for the last forty years Cocteau has never ceased to surprise his contemporar… More »

LA BELLE ET LA BETE

France, 1946
Jean Cocteau's version of the traditional fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, this film contains some of the loveliest photography ever seen. The simple folk legend written in 1757 by Madame le Prince … More »

THE MYSTERY OF OBERWALD

Italy, 1980
A widowed queen, living aloof from her people, restlessly travels from one castle to another. The people know little of her. Her enemies send a young poet to assassinate her. The plot is uncovered an… More »

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (PG)

France, 1946
"Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time." - Jean Cocteau ... Screening at the very first MIFF in 1952, Beauty and the Beast comes from one of the finest exponents o… More »

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