The education of a princess wrapped in a love story. A king and queen live happily until her sudden death. The king decides to marry his lovely daughter. She's willing, but the Lily Fairy serves as a social conscience, intent on thwarting incest. She instructs the princess to request a series of dresses impossible to make; however, the king's tailor succeeds. So the fairy plots the princess's escape, wearing the skin of the king's prize donkey. She's spirited away to be a scullery maid dressed in the noisome skin. A wandering prince sees her in the woods and is smitten. Can love find its course, and does the princess learn a lesson of life's hardships?Written by
With his bold use of color, and his fascination with objects and patterns, Jacques Demy is the Vincente Minnelli of France. I say this, even though I haven't seen all of Demy's films. I've only seen "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, "The Young Girls of Rochefort" and now "Donkey Skin." The fairy tale about a young princess who escapes from her (more than) somewhat wrong-headed father is charming, if slightly disturbing, nonsense. The disturbing part alludes to a suggestion of incestuousness. But, never mind. It's all so light-hearted and silly it hardly matters, and in intellectual France it probably matters even less.
Catherine Deneuve is divine as always. And she has some competition here from Delphine Seyrig, she of the throaty voice, as her fairy godmother.
I still prefer "Umbrellas...". "Donkey Skin" is not quite as lacquered. I even saw a few stray hairs on Deneuve's head in one shot! You would never see that in the other film. And "Donkey Skin" is obviously not shot on the same color stock that gives that deeply artificial saturated look (a problem I had with Todd Haynes' "Far From Heaven"). And even though both movies are wildly stylized, "Donkey Skin" is a fairy tale and "Umbrellas..." is about real people, so the latter is much more emotionally involving. Still, "Donkey Skin" is definitely worth seeing and I recommend it.
11 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this