Friday, 29 August 2008

LE SANG D'UN POETE/Blood of a Poet (1930)

Well you've got to be honest haven't you? If any any artistic movement gets me yawning it's the Surrealists. Don't get me wrong I certainly admire an artist like Salvador Dali for the quality of his draughtsmanship but, oh dear, all those wonky melting clocks and crutches don't do a lot for me. I am told I am not supposed to understand surrealism, just react to it. Well, I react unfavourably most of the time. I can't help it, I like plot. I bow to no one in my admiration of Jean Cocteau's LA BELLE ET LA BETE and ORPHEE and I appreciate that both those films have strong elements of surrealism - but they had plot, they were using the surrealism for a purpose. It seems that the whole point of LE SANG D'UN POETE is that it has no plot and because of that it really bored me stiff. Being a Cocteau film there are lots of bare chested guys and even a well-oiled semi-naked black man and some chiffon. You can see the ideas that later were incorporated into his classics - among them the artist going through a mirror used in ORPHEE and the deadly snowball from LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES. But this doesn't save it for me. Yes, I know it is historically of great interest (just on the strength of LA BELLE and ORPHEE anything remotely connected to Cocteau is of interest) and it's good that Eureka have made it available but I'm really going to have to steel myself to watch TESTAMENT D'ORPHEE. Rating : **


Cerpts said...

Hmm. It does seem like many MANY attempts at surrealism fall flat. I disagree wholeheartedly with (was it Irving Thalberg's???) idea that DUCK SOUP was no good because it had all anarchy and no "grounding". However, I do agree that surrealism desperately needs a plot or else, as you say, we're just drifting around in rather tiresome exercises in style. I agree, I probably don't need to see this one.

Weaverman said...

I think that DUCK SOUP is a perfect example of a good use of surrealism. Die hard surrealists, of course, tell you that having no plot is the whole point but if somebody is trying to say something to me, however weird, I like it to come in coherent sentences.