Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Blood of a Poet (Jean Cocteau) ***

Jean Cocteau

Cast: Enrique Rivero

Background: Cocteau wasn't just a filmmaker. He also did poetry, playwrighting, novels, painting, and designing. He was friends with some of the most notable artists of the day, including Pablo Picasso. The Blood of a Poet was his first film.

Story: Four vignettes detailing the bizaare thoughts and visions of a poet (Rivero).

Thoughts: Not sure what to make of this one. There certainly is some fascinating imagery here. Cocteau does stuff with the camera that truly amazed me during the entire running time, and in that sense it is at times a compelling portrait of the mind of an artist. But much of it feels quite unnecessary, with repetitive shots and camera tricks that only serve to annoy. Cocteau is clearly an amazingly talented filmmaker and the images he produces here ignite a visceral thrill, but much like a big budget action movie with grand special effects but a weak plot, this film left me cold for the most part. But it would be stupid to deny how impressive the technique is and it is definitely a worthwhile and important film. I just wish it could've been in the service of something that made more emotional, if not logical sense, such as Dovzhenko's Earth.

Postscript: Cocteau continued directing films, including two more "sequels to this one (Orpheus, The Testament of Orpheus) which comprised the Orpheus trilogy. His most popular film is a 1946 adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

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