Monday, 18 November 2013

La Belle Et La Bete Film Review

Fig 1: La Belle et La Bete poster

The film 'La Belle et La Bete' or 'The Beauty and The Beast' is a black and white French romance written and directed by Jean Cocteau. The film has two very different personalities, the traditional French idealism and the odd, anthropomorphic stylisation. These two contrasting ideas seamlessly fuse together at a single place within the film, the Beast's castle and produce a very strange but oddly intimate and believable concept that has enchanted audiences and inspired further adaptations since then.

"This film is such a visual delight that I gave up worrying about ideological considerations and just embraced its beautiful and influential dreamlike imagery." ( Caldwell 2011 ) The realistic constructs within the Beast's castle are few and far between, with arms as candle holders, stonework with moving eyes and doors that open on command making up the majority of features. The appearance of these objects differ's however to Caldwell's description of Cocteau's fantasy elements as "dreamlike" because of their anthropomorphic designs, which adopt a freakish theme in this fantasy environment. The Beast's castle, as mentioned before, is a convergence point within the film of classical French architecture and the fantasy world of myth and legend. "...weird, enchanted domicile of the Beast." ( Malcolm 1999 ) The Beast's domain is something of high fantasy, a relentless bombardment of the fictional elements in an enclosed and hidden space within the forest, Its this enchanted domain that contains many odd and weird constructs that have excited and entranced audiences, with them even influencing adaptations.
Fig 2: Belle's father inside the Beast's castle.
The Beast character in the film is an element of fear and intrigue to the viewing audience, with his constant fits of rage, instinct and lust dominating most of his appearances. The Beast's story is incredibly tragic, a 'noble' soul trapped within the body of an animal and doomed to loneliness. This is a generic sad story by any account as described in "...a Beast at once ferocious, erotic and genuinely tragic..."  (TM, 2012) but this becomes a twisted tale by its end, hinted with lies and scheming. The Beast's fate is something cloaked in mystery for the duration of the film and only becomes revealed towards its end with the attempted thievery of the wealth within the the castle's inner sanctum. The inner sanctum holds extremely valuable treasures, alluring to any would be thief, which can only be obtained if accessed through the sanctums door with the correct key, It becomes apparent why this is so when Belle's fiancée breaks into the sanctum through the roof and is subsequently shot by an arrow and becomes the spitting image of the Beast, with his own appearance being transplanted onto the original Beast.

Fig 3: The Beast's appearance exchanged with Belle's Fiancée 
List of Illustrations: 

Fig 2: Belle's father inside the Beast's castle At:

Fig 3: The Beast's appearance exchanged with Belle's Fiancée At:


Malcolm, Derek (1999) At: (Online Review) Accessed 18/11/2013

TM (2012) At: (Online Review) Accessed 18/11/2013

Caldwell, Thomas ( 2011) At: (Online Review) 18/11/2013

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kyle,
    Another thoughtful review - well done :)
    You have touched on the fact that this film has been influential in other films... it might have been good to use an example to back up your discussion. That would have given you the opportunity to then compare this version with one, for arguments sake, that is more geared up for a younger audience.

    You are still not italicising your quotes, and there is still information missing from the illustrations list - have another look here

    Don't forget to put the year that the film was made, in the title too!