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LA BELLE ET LA BETE

France, 1946 (MIFF 1952)

Director: Emile Darbon, Jean Cocteau

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 de Beaumont has been transdormed into a wonderful spectacle, with many witty and surrealist touches.

The story deals with the rich merchant who had three daughters, two haughty and vain, and the youngest, Belle, as beautiful as she was good. Before going on a long journey, he asked them what gifts they woudl like. One wanted a monkey, the other a parakeet, but Belle asked only for a rose.

Lost in an enchanted wood, the merchant picked the rose, and, to his amazement, the Beast appeared and demanded his daughter's hand as the price of the his freedom. So Belle came to live in the magic castle and every night at dinner the Beast asked her to marry him. When she consented, he turned out to be the Young Prince she has loved all along.

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