Sunday, 31 August 2008


Jean Cocteau gets the point

Well, this turned out to be a delight. Jean Cocteau is still up to his old surrealist tricks but now, thirty years after SANG D'UN POETE, he is much more playful and tongue in cheek about it. There is a sort of plot, thankfully, which starts with Cocteau himself wearing the costume of an 18th Century nobleman wandering through time trying to find the scientist who will kill him so that he can be resurrected as himself (er...this is Cocteau, remember) to explore his own life as a poet/film-maker. Old friends (Yul Brynner, Charles Aznavour etc) wander in at odd moments as do characters from his classic ORPHEE (Cegeste, Death, the Chauffer) and being JC there is the usual selection of pretty young men. It seems obvious to me that Cocteau doesn't mean any of this to be taken seriously and there is a definite twinkle in his eye. The film is, perhaps, summed up for me by the scene where Cocteau is walking down a mountain road and suddenly hears the sound of two motorbikes. "Ah, it is death's messengers from my film Orphee!" he says and stands in the middle of the road, eyes closed and arms outspread to meet his own end - only to find himself being questioned by to Motorcycle cops who wonder why this crazy old man is standing in the middle of the road! All in all this is Cocteau being as playful with his chosen medium as Orson Welles was with F FOR FAKE and enjoying it immensely - acting out scenes backwards and projecting them forward, reuiniting with old lovers and friends....that is really what this film is about, a final visit with old friends for Cocteau and for us. I wondered where Cocteau's most famous star and real-life lover, Jean Marais was. Then, near the end of his wanderings, Cocteau passes the blinded Oedipus played by an uncredited Marais (being led by Annette Stroyberg - the Carmilla of Roger Vadim's BLOOD AND ROSES). You really can't help but love the old Queen. Rating : ****

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

Never saw never saw. But it sounds like a lot of fun. I myself love the idea of surrealism -- so why is the execution of those ideas usually so boring?!?!?!? This one however sounds interesting.