Week Four Blog Post

La belle et la bête was enjoyable. The film was artistic and featured multiple narrative elements such as time, range, and depth. The older film having faced issues with development during the making of the film has pulled off a great feat. Now to begin the analysis:

When Belle is using the Beast’s glove to transport back and forth between the her father’s house and the castle, the beginning scene is slow as she fades away and fades back through the wall of her father’s house. The second time she transports, she fades in and out much faster. The third time, you can hardly tell she did as all she did was slip on the glove and get up! Time is playing a part in this scene as each scene was shorter as the whole concept of transportation was already introduced before.

The french Beauty and the Beast uses an unrestricted range when Avenant and Ludovic  try to steal the Beast’s treasure and kill him. The Beast and Belle are in another scene completely unaware of what is going on in the room full of treasure. These two scenes play out parallel to each other and the audience knows more than the characters do individually. This allows the director to portray the cause and effect events that allow the Beast to rise once again.

As far as depth goes, the movie is mostly subjective on Belle but is not privy to her thoughts and feelings. We are only able to catch what she sees and what others say to her. When not following Belle, the movie is objective as it jumps between the characters and the events in which they are experiencing. This way we can see the whole story and not a one sided story of Belle.

Other than learning a bit of French, it was a good experience to watch the Beauty and the Beast and compare it to the Disney one that I remember. Sometimes during the film, I was comparing scenes. I was always waiting for the wolves to come out and Beast to save Belle. I was waiting for Gaston to appear although he never did. It is interesting to watch this original when the Disney one is on your mind. I look forward to discussing this tomorrow!

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3 thoughts on “Week Four Blog Post

  1. Interesting observation on the speeding up of the teleportation scenes, I hadn’t even noticed that!

    Time and space are just so out of wack in this film. The fact that we have no idea how long Belle was at Beast’s castle for is just frustrating. It’s hard to form characterizations in your head without a time scale in this movie. For instance, if Belle had been at Beast’s castle over the course of a few months and slowly took to enjoying his presence more and more, we might respect her more as a character and feel more sympathetic toward her situation. However, if in the course of a few days she goes from fainting in horror at the sight of him to falling in love with him, we might wonder if she is fickle or if she just has no sense of self-preservation.

    The lack of defined time and space really is in the vein of surrealism. Looking at a Salvador Dali painting gives a similar feel to watching this movie. In both, we have a minimal sense of spatial perspective and time is played with (Dali with his clocks, Cocteau with cuts making time indistinct). Also, the weird disjointed items in a Dali painting, such as ants and stopwatches, coincide with the arms sticking out of the walls and moving statues in this film.

  2. That is an interesting idea to compare Cocteau’s work to Dali due to the similarities of lacking time and space. I can see how Cocteau draws on former artistic traditions in France to tell his fantasy in a surrealist manner, yet maintaining a narrative that is compelling and has a solid through line. Dali also made films, and in St. Petersburg there is a Dali museum that screened his films throughout the summer. Dali worked with Luis Bunuel which I would claim as the Father of Surrealism. The Surrealist movement brought many films to light such as L’Age D’Or, and Un Chien Andalou.

    I believe Cocteau’s films are a testament to French Cinema tradition. He utilizes techniques of French surrealist cinema, and French avant-garde cinema. His humanization of inanimate objects is revolutionary for the time and is very unique and pushes the boundaries for what film is and what it could be.

  3. I definitely agree and think that Cocteau did a great job in shortening time in his films once a time consuming concept was introduced. You talked about how Belle is transported back and forth through the magic glove, and how the first time, it takes a while on screen. Later, it takes much less time because the concept was already introduced. Maybe another example of this is how Belle and her father and the Beast seem to be running in slow motion, but sometimes are not, maybe changing the sequence of time once that concept was introduced, too. All and all, Cocteau uses this method of narrative many times to shorten an idea and keep the audiences attention.

    I also agree when you talked about comparing each part of the movie with the disney version, they really each sent the same message but took on totally different narratives to do so.

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