La Belle et a la Bette

La Belle et a la Bette was a film filled with recurring motifs and implicit meanings.  The characters are introduce to the audience without addressing their time/era or location. As the movie proceeds we noticed that most of the characters are self-absorbed individuals chain to the idea of expressing emotion through materialistic means. However Belle, the prettiest compared to her two sisters is able to maintain a humble mind and gear her time and energy to more important factors in her life.

As the story unfolds and the beast is revealed to be a sentimental and caring being, we can deduct from our previous knowledge of fairy tales, and from the 1990s version of beauty and the beast that the characters (Belle and the Beast) will end up together.  A recurring theme in the movie is the sense of knowing how an individual is not by how they look but how they are in the inside. This showing of internal beauty is repeated throughout the film through the use of the mirror that displays what the character thinks about, Belle’s tears of diamonds, and the Beast’s relentless desire within to show that love can turn something ugly into the most beautiful thing you have ever experienced.

Various objects  throughout the movie had implicit meaning. For example, the statues with faces around the castle with bright eyes can mean the beauty is in the eye of the beholder although, the explanation is never really given and the statues are seldomly addressed. Meanings for other objects are left to the viewer when it comes to the arms that act as servants, the construction of the garden, and the curse which the beast was put under. Overall I thought it was a great film and love that some of these things are not fully explain and left to the viewers to interpret. I believe it gives us a little more liberty in how we perceive the movie and its purpose.

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5 thoughts on “La Belle et a la Bette

  1. La Belle et La Bete is chalk full of recurring motifs and unspoken meanings. I felt like this aspect of the movie contributes the most in terms of entertainment. It really forces the audience to engage in the viewing in order to maintain a clear understanding of the film. You honestly couldn’t have said it any better, the characters are beyond self-absorbed and seek happiness in materialistic things. As any typical fairy tale, the beast actually turns out to be the nicest man on the outside. This leading to a theme that is commonly used: “it’s what is in the inside that counts”. I had not thought about how much the theme was imbedded in the entire film until after reading your post. I too liked the fact that the film encompasses a lot of implicit meanings. It leaves it up to the viewers to interpret and give it their own personal touch.

  2. I was really wondering what the whole statue faces thing was about. It’s interesting how you propose the idea of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” as the purpose for the faces and limbs of the statues in the walls. I thought that it was also interesting how the statues were never really addressed or acknowledged by any of the characters. I don’t know what this adds up to but perhaps Cocteau meant to send the message that the statues were godlike and observing and maybe judging of the characters like Belle.

    I also agree with you when you talk about how Belle is clearly the fairest of her sisters, yet she is the only one that keeps levelheaded, and doesn’t let her status dominate the rest of her life. Belle’s sisters are there to foil her and to show how Belle, the fairest, ends up with the happy ending.

  3. This film is magic, but some might say that is is all smoke and mirrors. The fantasy tale of Beauty and The Beast implements many motifs, shaping the meaning of the film. Beauty and The Beast is the epitome of French Avant-garde Cinema. Avant-garde cinema is known for pushing limits and breaking boundaries; the use of smoke is a motif that recurs many times and is symbolic of the beasts desire and longing for love and to not be cursed any longer.

    The other motif that is prevalent in all Cocteau film is the use of the mirror. The mirror is symbolic and reflects not just what is reflected but acts as a pathway into the soul and the other world. Another motif that I looked at was the glove, I believed the glove represented nobility. Cocteau makes an intriguing inclusion of the glove because it embodies humanity’s nobility.

  4. It is interesting that you also compared the movie to the 1990s Disney one! I did the same thing during the movie and it was so hard to not expect the basic. I was looking for Gaston to show up. I was looking for the scene where the wolves comes to attack Belle and for the Beast to save her. I was even looking for the ballroom scene where he dances with her to Beauty and the Beast. You definitely had a point when you said that you expected there to be a happy ending with Belle and the Beast which is completely true. You can’t watch the movie with the same dread or emotion when the Beast is near death because you already know the ending of the movie: that happily ever after that comes along with the feel good fairy tales, which happens to be my favorite so no complaints here.

  5. Symbolism through the use of the eyes is definitely reoccurring. The fact that Belle’s tears turn into diamonds is a sentiment to how well she is able to see beyond peoples appearances and into peoples personalities. Also, the statues in the Beast’s mansion always have their eyes lit up, drawing intention to the fact that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Subjective beauty is the most prominent theme in this movie, and it is repeatedly expressed through the use of symbolism involving the eyes. One thing I could not make sense of is how Belle loved both the beast and her brothers friend. I wish that theme would have been explained a bit more.

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