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Le sang d'un poète
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The Blood of a Poet (1932) More at IMDbPro »Le sang d'un poète (original title)


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Release Date:
20 May 2010 (Greece) See more »
A young artist draws a face at a canvas on his easel. Suddenly the mouth on the drawing comes into life and starts talking... See more » | Full synopsis »
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Cocteau remains one of the forefathers of the art-film and of the 20th Century surrealism movement See more (28 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Enrique Rivero ... Poet
Elizabeth Lee Miller ... Statue (as Lee Miller)
Pauline Carton
Odette Talazac
Jean Desbordes ... Louis XV Friend
Fernand Dichamps
Lucien Jager
Féral Benga ... Black Angel
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Jean Cocteau ... Bit Part (uncredited)

Directed by
Jean Cocteau 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jean Cocteau 

Produced by
Le Vicomte de Noailles .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Georges Auric 
Cinematography by
Georges Périnal 
Film Editing by
Jean Cocteau 
Production Design by
Jean d'Eaubonne  (as Jean Gabriel d'Eaubonne)
Costume Design by
Coco Chanel 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Le sang d'un poète" - France (original title)
See more »
USA:55 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Photophone)

Did You Know?

The film was shot between April and September 1930.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Orpheus (1950)See more »


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12 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
Cocteau remains one of the forefathers of the art-film and of the 20th Century surrealism movement, 24 August 2003
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

Jean Cocteau's first film subject- Blood of a Poet (episodes 1-4), all takes place between a second's worth of measurement in time. A chimney falls to the ground in a scene of pure demolishment, and for the more mysterious glimpses in the film we see them happening in a second's flash as well (if you blink you'll miss it).

Before I saw Blood of a Poet, I figured it would be a debut Cocteau attempting a Bunuel type of filmic showcase of a different, though somewhat simple story with anarchic, subversively funny dream shots of a purely surreal nature. Then, there is the first shot, the opening image of the man, the introducer, like a ghost or a character in a Greek tragedy. The first episode is "Wounded Hand of the Scars of the Poet". Right from the music a viewer can realize Cocteau's picture is apart from Bunuel's achievement(s). The latter has a technique of classical music (Wagner over a scene of imposed seduction, for example) while Cocteau has the music as inviting, jubilant, even, however all the wigged man is doing is painting a face. It's almost like a cartoon, and for a fleeting instant, the face on the painting has lips that move. This is more than the usual surrealistic stoke of the brush- this is the first sign in motion picture history of an artist (i.e. painter) converting ideas into an episodic format. The purpose is the same- abstract thinking- but the format is of a different mind-set.

That's the first episode, that gets the viewer in, as another wigged man enters- sort of shocked- and exits like the wind. A wire face spins and the lips moving again like the painting he created just before. It could be the illusion of a lifetime, or a trick of the white light seeping out of the crevices in the lips in his hand, but the man, like us, can't ignore it until it is no more. That Cocteau has an intended poetic voice here in his brand of surrealism is a bonus of sorts to the intellectual type of audience member. And, it's not a downer to those who might not be interested in a filmmaker's ego- the artistry overcomes the ego, for the most-part anyway.

The second episode is titled "Do Walls Have Ears?", when the artist gets rid of the mouth, but now the man, the artist, is trapped in the room with the statue as the guardian. This is the first sign of the instantly narcissistic mood of Cocteau in the statue, a director in and of itself delivering enigmatic, haunting statement the mirror, again, shows with narcissism- the necessary narcissism, the kind to know one's self AND how he falls within himself like water. As the artist goes through the abyss, he winds up at the hotel (right in-between this Cocteau throws in a cut-away of a man disappearing after appearing for a number of seconds, creepy in its non-sense). Then, the artist views an execution through a key-hole in a door.

(Oh, did I mention that some of the dialog is quite possibly backwards- otherwise, what else could be the explanation of the point of it, except for random gibberish?)

Themes of suicide come up, then, soon enough after, the artist tires of this to the point of him leaving, climbing on the walls. At the end of this totally hypnotic two-parter, we see the reason, at the last for a clear instant, his emotion is now purely terror (by breaking the mirror, Cocteau tries to break through his own narcissistic tendencies).

The 3rd and 4th episodes are another kind of two-parter, and they center on a snowball fight and a card game, respectively. "The snowball fight" is entirely representative of the (true) brutal, near-primitiveness of the realities that go with childhood, leading up to a battered snowball victim at the side of an elegant man and woman dealing a game with each other. Suddenly, during this ("The Profanation of the Host" as it's appropriately titles) surrealism is at an astonishing height for its time. One shot, in particular, seemed to be an inspiration for a part of the Jupiter landing in 2001. A card is lifted from the boy, an assist in the game, and the man ends up losing, the boy (and the black man) revealing disgust in the elegance of the situation of the game.

That's when it hit me, the message of Blood of a Poet. Behind beauty, as well as behind one's own desires and vision, even if we can't entirely explain why it's beautiful or why we hold these desires for ourselves is the darkness that beckons (perhaps in the slightest of moments of our lives) in our deepest, most assuredly dream-like delusions of grandeur. From this, you could gather, Blood of a Poet seems like it may not be for everyone, certainly not for those who can't even remember one dream from their entire life (personally I thought it contained inklings of pretentious gobledy-gook). But its nature is something to look for, and if you only see the movie once, you might not be sorry. Grade: A

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