Jacques Demy cannot stifle the urge to infiltrate Charles Perrault's Medieval fairytale with his own sophisticated witticisms (the magic donkey of the tale produces jewels from its rear, rather than its ear; the women at a costume ball are dressed as birds and the men as cats), as well as occasional modernisms (a helicopter; quotations from Cocteau and Apollinaire). These are kept to a minimum, and kept quiet, as if not to alarm the children in the audience, and they do not hamper the tale's inexorable developments from once-upon-a-time to happily-ever-after. For Demy to tie himself to the most untenable and archaic conventions implies a strenuous and unselfish act of will, rather than of faith. And this slips a certain maturity of outlook into the gay and wanton coloring-book images. Photographed by Ghislain Cloquet; with Catherine Deneuve, Jacques Perrin, Jean Marais, and Delphine Seyrig. (1970) — Duncan Shepherd
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