Jean Cocteau


Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), a French writer, artist and film director, was one of the most influential creative figures in the Parisian avant-garde. He wrote poetry, novels, memoirs, plays, and operas and was a prolific illustrator, designer, painter and sculptor. In the second half of his fifty-year career he produced and directed groundbreaking surrealist films, most notably Blood of a Poet (1930), Beauty and the Beast (1946) and Orpheus (1949). New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael called him the progenitor of the new wave of French filmmakers. By the end of his life he had published 23 books of poems, seven novels, seven screenplays, four memoirs, overseen 21 theater productions, including plays, operas and ballets, 26 works with musicians, and 18 films.