Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jean Cocteau: The Testament of Orpheus, or Don't Ask Me Why! Take Two

The Criterion Collection of Jean Cocteau's Orphic Trilogy set includes, on the same disc as Jean Cocteau's Le testament d'Orphée, ou ne me demandez pas pourquoi! (1960), a 16mm short (a little over half an hour long) made in 1952, in color: La Villa Santo Sospir (Côte d'Azur). Both films further Cocteau's statement that "film is an admirable vehicle for poetry." Pablo Picasso having "gone through all the doors" of the villa, Cocteau "tattoos" them with his own artwork, line frescoes using fresh milk as one ingredient, and colorful paintings behind curtains, as well. Picasso actually appears in the 1960 film as a grieving friend of Orpheus/The Poet, with a small Spanish-tinged entourage.

It appears that Cocteau was unafraid of trying any type of art -- everything ranging from poetry to theatre, silent film vibe to fiction, nonfiction to drawing, painting to cinema, and sometimes an eclectic blending together of all these elements. 

Still from a scene in Le testament d'Orphée, ou ne me demandez pas pourquoi! Here, having summoned Cocteau/The Poet, Pallas Athena (aka Minerva)* prepares to throw a spear at him. Oh, don't ask why!

Today's Rune: Initiation. *In the guise of future "Bond Girl" Claudine Auger (b. 1941).   

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

That upper image is really cool. I love those silhouettes.