Fairy tale

Jean Cocteau (Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau), "Figures", India ink drawing.
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By WALNICE NOGUEIRA GALVÃO*

Considerations about films based on fairy tales

Fairy tales can generate non-Disney movies, as Jacques Démy demonstrated. The Nouvelle Vague filmmaker gained fame as an original, because he didn't follow recipes. He met enormous success with love umbrellas, a modern opera, all sung in a low voice by the very young Catherine Deneuve, who was barely 17 years old. It won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and became cult. Then came another feat with Les demoiselles de Rochefort. Both are modern, beautiful, colorful fairy tales.

But a true fairy tale, not modernized, is another film by Jacques Démy. In donkey skin, based on Charles Perrault, the protagonist spends the entire film covered in donkey hide, before the prince discovers the ring she dropped inside a cake. The incestuous father, played by Jean Marais, arrives at the end of the wedding by helicopter, an updated version of deus exmachina of classical theater. The anachronism is a wink at the viewer, similar to the designer sneakers that Sophia Coppola included among the period shoes in Marie Antoinette's shoe rack. In both, it is an anti-illusionist device of estrangement. Jacques Démy's three films were served to perfection by the wonderful music of Michel Legrand, whom donkey skin won the Academy Award for Best Soundtrack.

Another case is a reduced series of films by Jean Cocteau, who was not a cinema professional, but an artist whose talents ranged from poetry to the visual arts, also famous in theater and prose. His films are mainly filmed poems. The most renowned of them is Beauty and the Beast, of impeccable magical atmosphere, in which the beast almost dies of love. Pervaded with surrealism, it multiplies the effects, putting on stage, among others, candelabra made up of human arms that come out of the wall at regular intervals, wielding lighted candles.

E Orpheus It's even more surreal. In the ancient Greek myth, so reproduced in literature, music, visual arts, Orpheus, the greatest poet in the world, who even the animals appeased with his lyre, lost his wife and was inconsolable. The gods allowed him to go to hell to look for it, but if he looked back he would lose it forever – and that's what happened. Cocteau's Orpheus is a contemporary poet, fascinated by Princess Death, who disputes it with his wife Eurydice. There are messengers from the Beyond who ride motorcycles, or cross mirrors that are passages to the underworld. all are movies of art.

Yes, The Loves of Astrée ET Céladon, film by Eric Rohmer, another name of New wave, takes advantage of a novel by Honoré d`Urfé. Arcade and baroque, with shepherdesses playing the lyre, located in a XNUMXth century Gallic village. V, is not a chivalry novel transposed to the screen, but what those of the XNUMXth century thought. XVII which was a chivalry novel typical of the Middle Ages. A story of thwarted or fulfilled love: a beauty of fantasy and lyrical reverie, which transcribes lines from the original text.

Perrault was a good compiler – not only because he wrote down the oral reports he heard, as is reported, but also because he compiled narratives that were already written by someone else. And above all by women, later made invisible and erased from history. For example, the most famous of them, Beauty and the Beast, it had already been written and published, being very publicized at the time. Its author belonged to a group of women who wrote fairy tales in the XNUMXth century. XVIII, in France. Also the concept of “fairy tale” was created by her. Susana Ventura, author of Susana Ventura, who has been studying and revealing these and other gems, researching around the world, Beauty and the Beast and Other Fairy Tales by Madame Leprince de Beaumont, who just left. A beautiful book, all illustrated and multicolored. Very well known, and with books of her authorship in the children's genre, Susana has a library named after her in Osaka, Japan – a very rare tribute to demand much respect. Another one of her books, A sheet of infinite threads, Dealing with the refugees among us, it sold 100 copies: no one can say it lacks interest.

*Walnice Nogueira Galvão is Professor Emeritus at FFLCH at USP. She is the author, among other books, of reading and rereading (Senac/Gold over blue).

 

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