Peau d’Ane (Donkey Skin) (1970)

This is the last movie in the Jacques Demy season for the Wellington Film Society, and what a treat they have been. This is not the best of them – but it is definitely the most warped: a fairy tale about incest, taxidermy , cake and true love. It again stars Catherine Deneuve – at her most enchanting – and again absurd romance is used to unsettling effect. A retelling of Cinderella, but Prince Charming is a petulant brat with an overprotective mother; Cinderella is a princess who has run away to avoid marrying her father; the fairy godmother has schemes of her own (this is no altruistic fairy!); and the children’s ambiguous relationships with their parents might explain their obsession with true romance. Once again the sumptuous costumes, non-naturalistic colour design (this time with the extras literally painted blue and red) and amazing sets give it Demy’s distinctive look, and there are some stylish French touches. While all of the other films by Demy shown this year were better, this is still worth watching: especially if you have seen the others.

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~ by Doug Newdick on April 28, 2008.

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