films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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Dubious filler

Beauty and the Beast

La Belle et la Bête
1946 / 93m - France
Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Beauty and the Beast poster

Plain forgettable

The Blood of a Poet

Le Sang d'un Poète
1930 / 55m - France
Fantasy, Experimental
The Blood of a Poet poster

Jean Cocteau didn't direct many films, but he made them count. The Blood of a Poet is his first (surviving) film and sees Cocteau playing around with the medium. It's a laudable project, but 90 years later many of the experiments don't translate that well anymore, which makes this a rather tough watch.

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It's not just the film's age though, as I've seen films from the '20s (and even older - thinking of various Méliès films) that managed to deliver more refined special effects. Cocteau has a lot of interesting ideas, but many of the tricks he uses are a little too obvious, which detracts from the surreal atmosphere he tries to create.

Performances are somewhat mediocre too, the poetry doesn't really work and even though it's a pretty weird film, it never feels all that special or surprising. Still, at a time when many were pulling cinema into a more narrative direction, it's a welcome attempt to create something magical. It's just aged pretty badly.

Irritation overload


1950 / 112m - France
Drama, Fantasy
Orpheus poster

I didn't like this Cocteau at all. Not that I was the biggest fan of the other Cocteau films I've seen so far, but I've always appreciated his attempts to create something otherworldly and different with his films. He tried to do the same with Orpheus, it's just that he failed horribly here.

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Orphée is a poet who becomes infatuated with Princess Death. The princess quite likes Orphée too, but she's jealous of his wife, so she sends her cronies to help her on her way to the Underworld. Orphée may have developed feelings for Princess Death, but he is faithful to his wife and travel to the Underworld to get her back.

The performances are weak, conversations are terribly overstated, Cocteau's attempts to create a fantasy world are meager, and the soundtrack is annoying. There's just very little left of the creativity and atmosphere he was able to create in his earlier films, this was just poorly executed and felt terribly misplaced.