Saturday, 2 October 2010

La belle et la bete

This film is La Belle et la Bete, the french original of Beauty and the Beast directed by Jean Cocteau. The story and acting was different compared to a typical film because the acting and plot was theatrical and more dramatic, the evidence is clearly shown in the lighting in the castle scenes, the characters have a spotlight shone on them which gives a mystical glow whereas the rest of the scene is dark to keep the gloomy atmosphere. The people used as statues, candle sticks, laterns and doors add to the mystery and suspense of the theatrical performance, they add to the unrealistic enchantment of the castle stage.


The character of the beast interested me most because of the two sides you see. He begins as a tyrant more like the 'beast' that he is described or appear as but the introduction of belle releases his kind and good hearted nature that was stored within. Even though Belle is the prisoner, the Beast treats her as his mistress and she may command him because of his love for her. It questions the theory of what makes a man? The audience sees this character as a hideous hybrid but also as a creature of pity and tortued by the misfortunes and imprisonments of his appearance.


I found the ending confusing because the plot was unclear as to what happened expect for the final transformation from beast to man because Belle felt love for him. This gives some light to the beast because he becomes what he desires.

"The result was a film that dared to be naive, asking its audience to revert to childhood, the better to accept its practical magic."
Author of review: Derek Malcom -

"The Beast may look "horrible" (his words), but he has a heart of gold, contrasting directly with the two untrustworthy sisters and the greedy Avenant, who look fair enough on the outside but are far more beastly inside. "
Author of review: John Nesbit - Old school reviews

"Marvellous surreal effects live on the mind’s eye long after the lights go up: the beast’s smoking paws; a living mantelpiece; the billowing white drapes as Belle is carried along a castle corridor, seemingly without moving her feet; and ethereal human arms brandishing candelabra."
Author of review: Louise Brealy - Empireonline

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