Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau

Highest Rated: 100% Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (Ladies of the Park) (1964)

Lowest Rated: 50% The Mystery of Oberwald (Il Mistero di Oberwald) (1981)

Birthday: Jul 5, 1889

Birthplace: Maisons-Lafitte, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France

More than simply one of avant-garde's most successful and influential filmmakers, Jean Cocteau ranked among the century's most diversely talented artists, also enjoying success as an accomplished poet, novelist, and illustrator. Cocteau was born July 5, 1889, in Maisons-Lafitte, France, and was raised primarily in Paris. Educated at the Lycee Condorcet, he became infatuated with another boy, Pierre Dargelos; their relationship was never consummated, and Pierre's ghost often haunted Cocteau's later adult work, his image embodying recurring themes of longing and solitude. Throughout his life, Cocteau craved acceptance and recognition, and seemed to be constantly striving to remain at the forefront of Parisian culture. He made his first splash while still a teen, reading his poetry at the Theatre Femina as a protégé of the actor Edouard de Max and becoming a darling of the intellectual set. By the middle of World War I, he was composing for the Ballets Russes, for Parade -- which featured decor by no less a figure than Pablo Picasso, and music from Erik Satie -- premiering in 1917. His subsequent wartime experiences later became the subject of a 1923 novel, Thomas l'imposteur.Upon returning from battle, Cocteau rose to greater renown as a writer with the 1919 publication of Le Potomak, a collection of prose, verse, and humorous drawings. A year later, his pantomime-ballet Le Boeuf Sur le Toit was staged, and another volume of poetry, Les Maries de la Tour Eiffel, appeared in 1921. Cocteau also delivered modernistic adaptations, Antigone (1922) and Romeo and Juliet (1924), mounted an original one-act play, Orphee (1926), and published a collection of critical essays. Anyone doubting his standing as a renaissance man could also peruse his many paintings, drawings, tapestries, and program notes for avant-garde composers. With financial assistance from the Vicomte de Noailles, in 1930 Cocteau began work on his first motion picture, the silent Le Sang d'un Poete. For him, poetry remained the greatest form of self-expression, and the film explored the relationship of the poet to death, depicted as a journey toward self-realization. It was a theme destined to weave through all of his work, as was the film's dreamlike, atmospheric visual style; upon its release, Le Sang d'un Poete was much admired by the likes of Charlie Chaplin, but with the advent of the sound era, privately funded amateur films were no longer a viable possibility, and Cocteau did not make another picture for 16 years. Instead, he returned to writing; his 1929 novel Les Enfants Terrible was well received, and he also found success as a dramatist. During the Occupation period, Cocteau's reputation took a serious blow when he was falsely accused of collaborating with the Germans; despite his prominence, the war era was no easier for him than for anyone else -- he received food packages from Jean-Pierre Aumont in California, and after taking ill was treated with American penicillin. Throughout the war, Cocteau did not abandon film. While financially incapable of directing his own work, he continued writing screenplays, beginning with Marcel L'Herbier's 1940 effort La Comedie du Bonheur and continuing with Serge de Poligny's Le Baron Fantome in 1943. More notable was his adaptation of the Tristan and Isolde legend for the Jean Delannoy film L'Eternel Retour. In 1944, he also wrote the dialogue for Robert Bresson's Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne. Finally, in 1946 Cocteau was finally able to helm his own film, a luminous adaptation of the fable La Belle et la Bete; made under extreme financial difficulty in the days following the French liberation, it starred his close friend, Jean Marais, who appeared in virtually all of his films, and was superbly shot by the great cinematographer Henri Alekan. Again, the film was widely praised across the world, and Cocteau then immediately set to work on his next project, 1947's L'Aigle a Deux Têtes, an adaptation of his own play. Also an

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Thomas l'imposteur (Thomas the Impostor) Screenwriter 2012
66% Two in the Wave (Deux de la Vague) Actor $28.3K 2010
No Score Yet Stravinsky: Once at a Border Actor 2008
No Score Yet Callas assoluta Actor 2007
50% The Mystery of Oberwald (Il Mistero di Oberwald) Screenwriter 1981
100% Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (Ladies of the Park) Screenwriter 1964
86% Testament of Orpheus Actor Director Screenwriter 1960
No Score Yet Le Testament d'Orphée Himself the Poet Director 1960
No Score Yet 8 X 8: A Chess Sonata in 8 Movements Director Actor 1957
No Score Yet Around the World with Orson Welles Actor 1955
No Score Yet Traité de bave et d'éternité, (Venom and Eternity) Actor 1952
No Score Yet La corona negra (Black Crown) Screenwriter 1952
No Score Yet Colette Actor 1951
No Score Yet La villa Santo-Sospir Director 1951
97% Orphée (Orpheus) Director Screenwriter Narrator 1950
73% Les Enfants terribles (The Strange Ones) Screenwriter Narrator 1950
No Score Yet Coriolan Director Actor 1950
100% Les Parents Terribles (The Storm Within) Screenwriter Narrator Director 1948
No Score Yet L' Aigle à Deux Têtes (The Eagle Has Two Heads) Screenwriter Director 1948
No Score Yet Ruy Blas Screenwriter 1948
95% Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la bête) Magic objects [uncredited] Director Screenwriter 1946
No Score Yet L'Éternel retour (The Eternal Return) Screenwriter 1943
No Score Yet Love Eternal Director 1943
95% The Blood of a Poet Director Screenwriter Actor 1930
No Score Yet Jean Cocteau Fait du Cinéma Director 1925


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