Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast

1946, Dir. Jean Cocteau
93 minutes, black and white

There is no reason to show your children any other version of Beauty and the Beast but this one, unless your idea of "cultural literacy" means "fluency in the full catalogue of the Disney Studio."

Cocteau's exquisite mystery spellbinds. This is a fairy tale in which the transforming power of love performs the magic, and if Belle is not a bookworm, she is a grown woman ready to separate from her family and make a garden flourish in the woods. The beast's living house will spark a child's imagination.

Suspenseful situations and, of course, a beast. Ages 5 or 6 and up.

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