films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Beauty and the Beast

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

Testament of Orpheus

Le Testament d'Orphée, ou Ne Me Demandez Pas Pourquoi!
1960 / 79m - France
Testament of Orpheus poster

Jean Cocteau's final film. I'm not the man's biggest fan, but I appreciate the fact that his films have a strong point of view. Cocteau is probably a bit too infatuated with classical art, which is something I have no affinity with whatsoever, but the surreal and fantastical elements in his films make it a bit more bearable.

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Cocteau himself plays an 18th-century poet who travels to time to find true wisdom. He ends up with a scientist who has a way to open portals to different dimensions. Cocteau is intrigued, but the only way to open such a portal is to be killed by the scientist. He commits and finds himself in a strange world.

The idea is pretty cool, and so are the sets and some of the surreal imagery, but I didn't care much for the themes and characters. The film is pretty short, but still a bit too long for something I wasn't entirely invested in. Classic arthouse fans should do well to seek this one out though because Cocteau is not your average director.

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.


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.