COLETTE (director/writer: Yannick Bellon; cinematographer: André Dumaître; music: Guy Bernard; cast: Jean Cocteau, George Wague, Colette; Runtime: 26; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jacqueline Jacoupy; Icarus Films; 1951-France-in French with English subtitles)
“Engaging 1951 short film on the legendary aged mime, dancer and writer Sidonie Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
French filmmaker Yannick Bellon (“Rape of Love/Violated Love”) directs this engaging 1951 short film on the legendary aged mime, dancer and writer Sidonie Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954). It’s shot mostly in her Paris apartment at the Palais Royal. Colette was bed-ridden by arthritis in her leg; she died two years later. Here she’s visited by her neighbor, the French poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau, and they dig into her mail as they gleefully chat.
The author, who narrates, expresses her reluctance to grant permission for a film about the 14 houses she’s lived and worked in, saying: “But they can’t do that. The film would be endless.” Nevertheless we soon are watching a film that shows some of those country houses. They include those in Brittany and the country home in Burgundy where she was born.
There’s also a brief interview with George Wague, who acted with her. He tells us about her career as a mime and her marriages and of their traveling through the French countryside putting on plays. Far from a great film, but a warm and intimate one that spends some quirky time with a charming lady.
Colette was the author of several semi-autobiographical novels, including the Claudine and Chéri series, The Vagabond, Music-Hall Sidelights, and Gigi.
REVIEWED ON 4/30/2009 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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