Jean Cocteau and myth : intrusions into darkness
Skertich, George J.
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Jean Cocteau's film, La belle et la bete, is an enchanting and complex film. Its themes, those of love, the psychological motivations of the characters, child-like acceptance and symbolism are intertwined and are related to the audience through the lens of the camera. The viewer responds to the pattern of visual and audio stimulation on a psychological level. This level is accessed due to patterns that relay the myths of our society with which the viewers are already familiar. Because there are no off-screen voices, which often represent the mind of the narrator, the field of vision as restrained by the camera's lens becomes the medium through which the action and meaning of the film is presented. Other senses are aroused in the film, as well. The soundtrack, for instance appeals strongly, sometimes overwhelmingly, to the audience's sense of hearing. The aspects of the film form a complex masterpiece that functions on the level of myth.