on 14 December 2001
Was Jean Cocteau the Oscar Wilde of cinema? Like Wilde's writings, I'm never sure if Cocteau's films are as deep as their surfaces suggest, or if they are all marvelous surface, but the more I see them, the less inclined I am to worry about that, because they are gorgeous.
This film can strike one as a tad pretentious, a precious little dance with myth, but for me, at least, a second viewing dispelled that sense. Quite unlike any other film I can name, more mature than La Belle et la Bete, a modern (1949 modern) re-imagining of Greek myth by way of Rilke, dreamlike in the best sense, mysterious and moving, with Death and her servant Heurtebise oddly the most touching characters. Highly highly recommended.