Peau d'âne (Donkey Skin, 1970), Jacques Demy, music by Michel Legrand
Michel Legrand Interview (August 26, 2005)
La Deneuve in Cannes (May 13, 2005)
Le Jazz in Saint-Germain (May 8, 2005)
Agnès Varda, Jacquot de Nantes (February 19, 2005)
Pierre Loti's Toy Stage (December 31, 2004)
The modern world creeps in to the fairy tale through the Lilac Fairy, who seems to come from the future or has at least visited our time. She makes a reference at one point to "une pille" (a battery) but then tells the princess, who doesn't understand, not to worry about it. At the princess's marriage at the end, she and the king arrive, mysteriously, in a helicopter. When the king is trying to woo his own daughter, convinced that she is the only princess more beautiful than his recently deceased wife (fulfilling her final wish, that he marry only something more beautiful than she), he reads from the books of poetry that the Lilac Fairy brought him from the future. At least one of the poems I recognized as the work of Guillaume Apollinaire, from his poem L'Amour:
L'anneau se met à l'annulaireThe costumes in this film, it's true, are the worst kind of kitsch, a Disney vision of the Renaissance. However, it is so beautifully shot, much of it on location at Chambord and a few other châteaux in the Loire Valley. There are several scenes of Catherine Deneuve, in her donkey skin, running through the woods, slowed down just enough to appear to float but not enough to seem truly like slow motion. These scenes are not narrative, only about showing something beautiful. Michel Legrand's music is good but not as memorable as Les Parapluies de Cherbourg or Les Demoiselles de Rochefort.
Après le baiser des aveux
Ce que nos lèvres murmurèrent
Est dans l'anneau des annulaires
Mets des roses dans tes cheveux.