La Belle et la Bete - the new fairy-tale film you probably won’t see.
Anyone who’s followed this blog for a while will be aware that I love my fairy-tales, and enjoy nothing more than a good fairy-tale film. Sadly, most recent fairy-tale films have been horrible disappointments - Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman were both beautiful to look at but hollow at their hearts. Only Blancanieves, the silent Spanish Snow White film with bonus bull fighting, moved me and stayed true to the spirit of the story it was based on.
At the moment, things look both good and bad for Christophe Gans’ La Belle et la Bete. On the good side, it appears to be heavily influenced by Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bete which is unquestionably one of the best fairy-tale films ever made. More worryingly, the trailer includes a 60 foot tall giant which gives me ghastly flashbacks to SWATH.
If nothing else, La Belle et la Bete is guaranteed to be visually beautiful. The trailer is an almost eye-watering assembly of gorgeous visuals that recall the sets of Cocteau’s version while injecting ample doses of Studio Ghibli’s colour and whimsy.
I’m of the opinion it will be worth watching, though I sadly doubt I’ll get to see it in cinemas. The reason for this is simple - it’s French and I do not live in a major city. A film like this, however beautiful and however high its production values, has but a negligible chance of getting a wide release in English-speaking territories.
Do make your own mind up and post your comments. Here’s some more material on the film to keep you going.
Scene (Beauty meets the Beast for the first time)
Behind the scenes
(Of course, all of this is in French - no subtitles. Hope your French teacher was better than mine!)