Sunday, 1 November 2015

Space Oddities - La Belle et la Bete

A Poets fable, Jean Cocteau’s “La Belle et la Bete” (!946) shows how the artistic mind of a painter, sculptor and poet can use the medium of film to produce a surreal cinematic experience of a sexual fairy-tale fantasy.  
“It is a fabric of gorgeous visual metaphors, of undulating movements and rhythmic pace, of hypnotic sounds and music, of casually congealing ideas”.

The Surrealism of the film was enhanced with the atmospheric effects such as fog/smoke, swirling curtains, and haunting furniture. Dreamlike images of Belle floating down corridors with no movement of her body (Fig. 01), Magical hands that serve as waiters and candle holders. “When bodies appear through walls or fly up into the air, it is almost as if Cocteau’s camera has miraculously recorded a dream”

(Fig. 01)

Freudian symbols suggest how the dreamlike subconscious underpins the sexual nature to the film
As Belle awaits her first introduction to the Beast, he moves in silence and approaches her from behind. She senses his presence, and toys suggestively with the knife on the table. The image of a scared woman playing with a phallic object burns with both desire and fear, excitement and anxiety”.

Though perceived to be a beast, as the beauty gets to know his chivalrous side, her attitude changes from seeing him as a frightening monster to a more caring individual, though still adamant that she will never marry him. She seems to become the more dominant of the couple, the beast following her around like a lost puppy and even drinking from her hands and feeding him. (Fig. 02)

(Fig. 02)

Though the sexual connotations seem to dominate the film, and a lot is read into the Freudian-ism. This is at heart a magical fairytale fable where adults have the opportunity to escape their everyday lifes and enter into to a childhood wonder.



Illustration List:
•  Fig. 2.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark,

    Getting there! :) Don't forget that you need to reference your quotes directly afterwards, with the author's surname and the year. Your bibliography is also missing several elements - have another look her for instructions on what needs to be included -