“I detest originality. I avoid it as much as possible.”
A published author by 1914, Jean Cocteau‘s greatest creation was himself: poet, novelist, playwright, critic, artist, set designer, boxing promoter, social butterfly and ringmaster of French culture, Cocteau was the avant-garde celebrity of his time. His most famous book, Les Enfants Terribles, he dashed off in 19 days; his most thrilling, Opium, his “cure diaries”. Yet it is as filmmaker that Cocteau continues to fascinate: specifically, Orphée which, as Tom McCarthy writes, is a great piece of art, “it rethinks creativity along the lines of transmission and reception: kind of like Kraftwerk avant la lettre.”
First posted: Friday, April 9th, 2010.