Segments in this Video

Cocteau's Diversity (01:39)


Jean Cocteau decorates a theater by the Mediterranean and talks about his works.

Cocteau's Childhood (02:50)

Cocteau talks about his parents and childhood. His mother encouraged his early interest in theater.

Cocteau's Poetry (01:41)

Cocteau disliked school. He and his mother corresponded frequently. After "La Lampe d'Aladin" and "Le Prince Frivole" became public, he joined Paris literary circles.

"Le Potomak" (03:06)

Cocteau was an eclectic and controversial figure in the French literary scene. He discusses meeting Igor Stravinsky and his inspiration.

Cocteau's Versatility (01:35)

Cocteau was friends with Russian impresario Diaghilev and designed dance posters for him.

"Parade" (03:15)

In 1914, Cocteau volunteered as an ambulance driver. He met Pablo Picasso, Erik Satie and other artists in Paris. Together, they created this ballet.

Raymond Radiguet (05:08)

Cocteau talks about his friendship with Radiguet. Cocteau turned to classicism and produced "Le Secret Professionnel," "Thomas L'Imposteur," and "Plain-Chant."

"L'Ange Heurtebise" (03:04)

Cocteau was devastated after Radiguet's death in 1923. He turned to opium and religion, and wrote this poem. Cocteau reflects on poets and poetry.

Cocteau the Musician (01:24)

Always interested in music, Cocteau played with an American Jazz Band. The surrealists and Dadaists of the day criticized him.

Homosexuality (01:30)

Cocteau fell in love with Jean Desbordes and promoted his book "J'Adore." Cocteau's homoerotic novel, "Le Livre Blanc," is a poetic manifesto.

"Les Enfants Terribles" (02:31)

Cocteau discusses writing the novel that reflects his generation, and his play, "La Voix Humaine." Cocteau used his talents in multiple forms of art.

Cocteau's Love Life (01:06)

Cocteau promotes boxer Al Brown. After a brief affair, he falls in love with actor Jean Marais who starred in several of Cocteau's plays and films.

Cocteau's Political View (01:44)

Cocteau was ambivalent about the Nazi presence in Paris and was censured by his friends for praising Hitler's sculptor, Arno Breker.

"The Difficulty of Being" (01:45)

The deaths of Cocteau's mother and Desbordes deeply affected him. Reflecting on death, he wrote "La Difficulte D'Etre." "Bacchus" scandalized Cocteau's Catholic friends.

Santo Sospir (02:05)

Cocteau painted Picasso's sketches, decorated the walls and doors, and hung paintings in the trees outside of the villa. Cocteau talks about his creative process.

Cocteau's Friends and Patrons (01:22)

At Santo Sospir, given to him Francine Weisweiller, Cocteau met and adopted Edouard Dermit. Cocteau's interest grows in Greek myths and he criticizes the modern media.

"Testament of Orpheus" (02:48)

Cocteau's friends participated in his last film, "Le Testament d'Orphée." Cocteau defends eclecticism and his genius.

Cocteau's Recognition (01:42)

In 1947, Cocteau moved to his chateau in Milly-la-Foret which became a monument to his work. He describes the honors he has received.

Bullfight in Spain (01:40)

Picasso admired Cocteau's versatility and invited him to Spain. Cocteau enjoyed his visit, but he was dying. Cocteau discusses his capacity for love and friendship.

"Le Requiem" (01:29)

In a last poem, Cocteau confronts his life and imminent death. He died on Nov.11, 1963. "I remain with you," is his epitaph.

Credits: Great Writers: Jean Cocteau (00:44)

Credits: Great Writers: Jean Cocteau

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Great Writers: Jean Cocteau

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Jean Cocteau was a very versatile 20th century artist. Author of "Les Enfants Terribles," and "la Belle et la Bête," he was one of the most influential French writers of the 1920s and the 1930s. His large body of work includes poetry, novels, works for theater and films, paintings, opera and dance, and journalistic criticism. He was criticized by the surrealists to whom he was compared. He struggled with religion, opium addiction and was openly bi-sexual. Please preview prior to using this video as it contains subject matter which may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL58161

ISBN: 978-0-81609-765-4

Copyright date: ©1996

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

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