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La villa Santo Sospir (1952)

| Short
Short about Mrs. Weisweiller's Villa in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferat, on Côte d'Azur, which was decorated by Jean Cocteau.

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Francine Weisweiller ...
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Short about Mrs. Weisweiller's Villa in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferat, on Côte d'Azur, which was decorated by Jean Cocteau.

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A Vila Santo-Sospir  »

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When it's focuses specifically on the house, it's terrific...
11 March 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is a very unusual short film by Jean Cocteau for many reasons. First, it's in color--and I'm pretty sure it's his only color film. Second, much of it simply consists of his showing the viewer through a villa which he decorated--making this, mostly, a documentary. I say mostly because at times the film seems to bounce about and Cocteau can't seem to resist throwing in his own touches that have nothing to do with the house--such as his use of reversing the film to make things run in backwards order (and, like in "Testament of Orpheus", he makes flowers appear to go from being torn apart to becoming whole again).

The film is a room by room viewing of the villa--a place that Cocteau decorated in the early 1950s. According to Wikipedia, Pablo Picasso also decorated a small portion of the house--though who did what isn't discussed in the film. You can see that Cocteau's art is heavily influenced by his friends Picasso, Chagall and Matisse (and vice-versa). Much of it consists of Cocteau's simple drawings (mostly black & white)--which remind me a bit of James Thurber mixed with Picasso. However, later in the film, you suddenly see VERY bold and colorful modern works by Cocteau--and a few by his friends (including his lover Jean Marais and the villa's owner). It's all VERY exciting to watch and it's something you'll just need to see for yourself. I am not a huge fan of modern art but found the home irresistible and would sure love to be able to visit the place. I couldn't find any information on this, so I guess I'll have to content myself with seeing this excellent film.

Aside from "Orpheus" and "Beauty and the Beast", this is probably one of Cocteau's most accessible films. It's all very straight-forward and lacks the bizarre structure of some of his work (such as "Blood of a Poet").


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