Monday, July 6, 2009

Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday and JEAN COCTEAU

Yesterday was the birthday of the great French poet Jean Cocteau. I always think Jean Cocteau is responsible for Daisy's conception as it was during my first date with the Scribe (Jean Cocteau's brilliant adaptation of the fairytale Beauty & The Beast: La Belle et la Bete) that I realised a man with such a choice in films would have to be the father of my child!

Both the Scribe and I have loved Jean Cocteau for many years. We've seen several of his movies repeatedly: Blood of a Poet, Orpheus and The Testament of Orpheus amongst others.

When we travelled to the South of France, of course we had to visit the lovely chapel with the Cocteau murals at one of my favourite sea-fishing villages, Villefranche sur Mer, and also the Jean Cocteau Museum at Menton. Above my desk are two large framed prints from this museum. One is of Cocteau the Master with wigs attached to his back, two large white eyes and looking rather dapper in a suit despite all of that. The other is of a man/horse figure, a very Cocteau image.

Although he was definitely multi-talented and worked across a variety of artistic fields such as filmmaking, Cocteau always saw himself as a poet and insisted everything he did was poetry. Despite limited budgets, the creativity and scope of his movies is dazzling. In my opinion, he's far superior to most modern-day filmmakers with their massive budgets.

His life wasn't a charmed one on a personal level. His father committed suicide when he was around nine. Another young lover died suddenly and Cocteau spent a lot of years addicted to opium.
But he was friends with a charmed circle that included Coco Chanel, Picasso, Jean Marais and Colette amongst others. He died of a heart-attack at 74, after hearing of the death of one of his friends, Edith Piaf.

He was dazzling, witty, elegant, beautiful and had the heart and soul of a child to create his profound works.

And so on the day after his birthday, for my Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty, Monday post let us bow our heads to the genius of Jean Cocteau. May his dazzling originality and poetic brilliance inspire us this week to aim higher and be as original as we can in our artistic efforts.

I met a young man of nineteen or twenty, who at that time vibrated with all the youth of the world. This was Jean Cocteau, then a passionately imaginative youth to whom every great line of poetry was a sunrise, every sunset the foundations of the Heavenly City.

Edith Wharton in A Backward Glance (1934), p. 28


  1. Thanx Joesphine for this exquisite insight into the world of Jean Cocteau. May he RIP on his Birthday!

  2. Great Post - I love Jean Cocteau - one of my favourite books is of his, that used to be owned by artist Sunday Reed - Happy b'day Jean

  3. enjoyed this post, thanks, I don't know too much about Jean Cocteau

    oh and Miss Marple, I love it too!!! ...I have to say I am seriously not sure if I am digging this new series, something just doesn't seem right about her, I am trying really trying to hedge my disappointment but as the weeks pass it isn't getting better!


  4. I love how you share insights and stories of the people that have inspired you. I always learn something when I come over here :D xx

  5. Okay...I'm off in search of Jean Cocteau....

  6. I have not heard of Jean Cocteau before. I am going to have to check out his works, etc. Thank you for sharing. I love art and poetry.

  7. This blog is a treasure of legends and facts! I stumbled on your blog accidently; I’m glad I did, never read anything by Jean, but I will…

  8. Cool... Cocteau was in another dimension... I remember watching Orpheus for a French class at university, it was then that I started to realize that Hollywood's vision was not the only possible view of the world possible in the cinema.

  9. That's the beauty of blogging and inspiring bloggers who love to share ... thanks. :)

    And what a great insight into choosing a partner, I knew I was doing something wrong ...

    I wanted to let you know that I have tagged you with an award on my blog! :)

  10. I didnt really know much about this man, thanks for sharing.

  11. A great tribute to an absolute genius, Josephine. xv

  12. Hi

    I am glad you are pleased with your award. 'One Lovely Blog Award':

    You credit the person who passed to you then you pass onto 5 bloggers who will then do the same. Isn't it exciting!

    I didn't know how to place the badge onto my site either, but I printed the picture, then scanned back into my computer and then used Bloggers picture gadget to place down the side of my blog. It worked!!! But the quality of my badge is a little blurry. Good luck.

  13. This blog gets more beautiful every time I come over here! Love Cocteau - such an elegant line to his drawings. Gorgeous.


Thanks ever so for your comment! I love feedback! xx