Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This excellent biographical documentary focuses on Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) the acclaimed French writer, painter, film director, screenwriter, set designer, and actor who had published poetry and was editing a magazine at the age of 16. Using audio and video interviews with Cocteau before his death, director Edgardo Cozarinsky adeptly brings out Cocteau's multitalented genius, sharp wit, and perceptive views of people, places, and past eras. An admirer of Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso, and Claude Debussy -- to name a few of the major artists and composers he knew -- Cocteau provides both moving and amusing anecdotes about his famous and not-so-famous favorite people. (For example, Sarah Bernhardt considered the acclaimed, innovative Ballets Russes "jumping fleas.") Clips from a few of Cocteau's films are included, as well as footage of himself with well-known personalities from the first half of the 20th century. Both entertaining and enlightening, this is a well-crafted and clear approach to one of the century's most unusual and gifted personalities.