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Donkey Skin (1970)

Peau d'âne (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Family, Fantasy | 20 December 1970 (France)
1:37 | Trailer

On Disc

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A fairy godmother helps a princess disguise herself so she won't have to marry a man she doesn't love.


Jacques Demy


Charles Perrault (fairy tale), Jacques Demy
1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine Deneuve ... La princesse / La reine bleue
Jean Marais ... Le roi bleu
Jacques Perrin ... Le prince charmant
Micheline Presle ... La reine rouge, la seconde reine
Delphine Seyrig ... La fée des Lilas
Fernand Ledoux ... Le roi rouge, le seconde roi
Henri Crémieux ... Le chef des médecins (as Henri Cremieux)
Sacha Pitoëff ... Le premier ministre (The Minister) (as Sacha Pitoeff)
Pierre Repp Pierre Repp ... Thibaud - l'intendant
Jean Servais ... Le récitant (voice)
Georges Adet Georges Adet ... Le savant
Annick Berger Annick Berger ... Nicolette
Romain Bouteille Romain Bouteille ... Le charlatan
Louise Chevalier Louise Chevalier ... La vieille fermière
Sylvain Corthay Sylvain Corthay ... Godefroy


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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

20 December 1970 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Donkey Skin See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo (restored version)| Mono (original version)| Dolby SR (restored version)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Demy originally envisaged Brigitte Bardot and Anthony Perkins in the lead roles. See more »


La fée des Lilas: Fairies, like women, hold grudges.
See more »


Referenced in Skin Deep Fairytale (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

30 January 2005 | by vespertineSee all my reviews

To me, Donkey Skin (Peau d'Ane) is like Jean Cocteau reborn into the French New Wave(!). Gorgeous and stylized, it's a fairytale told with the cinematic magic we've come to expect from director Jacques Demy. This is a fairytale that adults will enjoy more than children, as it's full of dark humor. Ms. Deneuve is stunning as always, and the sassy fairy is also wonderful. Surreal and bizarre, Donkey Skin traps you into its world of bold colors, real-life french châteaux, living statues, and loads of fairy magic. But Demy doesn't seem content to let the viewer completely lose him/herself in the world he's created. The movie is full of self-references, something Demy had partly explored earlier with The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, but really let himself have fun with in Donkey Skin. For just when you come to believe the magic, Demy likes to remind you that this is just a movie. With only a smudge of dirt and an animal skin, the beautiful princess (Deneuve) is transformed on screen into the ugliest girl in the entire kingdom, so ugly that whenever she shares the screen with other characters, they all look on in horror. We still see a beautiful woman, under the dirt on her face and the donkey skin on her back, and we are reminded that this is only a movie-world. The helicopter is an amazing touch, and it made the movie for me. I won't say more, see it for yourself! (The reprint is currently making its rounds and is well worth it!)

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