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La Belle et la Bête

Jean Cocteau’s much-loved Gothic fantasy La Belle et la Bête has been digitally restored to 4K to mark the 50th anniversary of the director’s death.

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  • Director-Screenwriter Jean Cocteau
  • Producer André Paulvé
  • With Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély, Nane Germon, Marcel André
  • France 1946
  • 94 mins
  • UK distribution BFI

This new restoration by SNC/Groupe M6 and the Cinémathèque Française uses the notes and reference prints made by cinematographer Henri Alekan for the 1995 restoration, as well as the diary kept by Cocteau during filming, providing valuable evidence of the director’s ambitions for the look and sound of his film. With its enchanted castle, home to fantastic living statuary, and Cocteau’s lover Jean Marais starring as a Beast who is at once brutal and gentle, rapacious and vulnerable, shamed and repelled by his own bloodlust, this remains a high point of the cinematic Gothic imagination. As Marina Warner has written, ‘The film unfolds to a perfectly poised slow tempo in surreal settings that gain intensity from the fabulous décor and costumes, the glittering lighting and the many moments of magic effects. The candle-lit shadow-play deepens the Gothic atmosphere of the beast’s castle, harking back to early expressionist classics of the genre.’

Jane Giles

Marking the 50th anniversary of Cocteau’s death, his much-loved Gothic fantasy, La Belle et la Bête, has been digitally restored to 4K.

Read the Time Out review.

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