46 minutes into La Belle et la Bête, Beauty sees a disturbing sight:
The Beast, in all his finery, lapping up water like an animal
If you've never seen the 1946 Jean Cocteau take on Beauty and the Beast, you must. It's just exquisitely, eerily beautiful. I'm a huge fan of the Disney musical, of course, but they skimped on the basic psychosexual nature of the material. Animated films don't always do that -- I maintain that Disney really went for it with The Little Mermaid and Coraline also tapped that well -- but the only Best Picture animated nominee did not. Cocteau's version, on the other hand, is hypnotically erotic. And not just because Cocteau's muse Jean Marais plays the Beast.
In the scene that precedes this terrifically lit image, Beauty finds Beast in her bedroom. He's there to give her a pearl necklace (!) Disgusted, she orders him out of the room. As he leaves, dejected, he strokes the breast of the statue right outside his prisoner's door. But if Beauty is so disgusted by her animal suitor, why is she wearing his pearl necklace the very next time we see her in the scene showcased here. And why is The Beauty, -- and this goes for every incarnation of her -- so entranced by the savagery of her suitor?
<--- Cocteau and Marais in 1939
I feel like I should really see more of Jean Cocteau's work. And more of Marais. Lots more of Marais.
If you're a fan of either frenchmen, what other films do you suggest? Vous savais quoi faire...