Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Film Review - La Belle et la Bête

La Belle et La Bête (1946) is a French film adaptation of the story 'the beauty and the beast' directed by Jean Cocteau. The story is that of a beautiful lady that volunteers herself to die in place of her father when he steals a rose from the beasts garden. The beast however keeps her in his castle and they begin to get to know each other better.

Figure 1: Movie Poster

Throughout the film the beast is shown to be both very human and undeniably a beast. As said by Geoffrey Macnab, 'As played by Marais, the Beast comes across as a dapper, renaissance version of a werewolf in a Universal horror film. One moment, he'll be on his haunches drinking water from Beauty's hands, but the next he'll be growling out some surprisingly chivalrous dialogue.' (Macnab, 2014). He speaks as a human would, walks on two legs and carries Belle to her bed when she faints but he is also shown to drink water in the same was as an animal and to hunt as an animal would. Belle is shown to shift from the fear she held when he roamed the hallways after a kill, smoke rising from his fingertips (as seen in figure 2), to a more empathic view, walking with him in the gardens (as seen in figure 3) while talking to him more as a human than a beast. The film ends up 'giving us a Beast who is lonely like a man and misunderstood like an animal' (Ebert, 1999).

Figure 2: Smoke rising after the Beast killed
Figure 3: Belle and the Beast walking together
The look and style of the film was based firmly on the concept art created by Christian Bérard, who drew on black paper with chalks (see figure 4). This is shown through many of the scenes, where the darkness seems to envelop the screen with only the lights and the figures being illuminated in the rooms. Christian Bérard also worked on the designs for the costumes, 'the costumes, too, by Christian Berard and Escoffier, are exquisite affairs, glittering and imaginative, lacking only the glow of color, as we say.' (Crowther, 1947). The costumes themselves fit in the scenes beautifully, both magical to look at and yet entirely believable as clothing.

Figure 4: Concept Art


Ebert, R. 1999 - The Beauty and The Beast:
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-beauty-and-the-beast-1946 (Accessed: 01/11/2016)

Crowther, B. 1947 - Film Review:
Macnab, G. 2014 - La Belle Et La Bete: Film review:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/reviews/la-belle-et-la-bete-film-review-cocteaus-forties-fantasy-is-still-a-thing-of-real-beauty-9035506.html (Accessed: 01/11/2016)


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1 comment:

  1. :) Nice review...

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