Cocteau described this first feature as the playing with one finger of a theme that he orchestrated in Orphée twenty years later. That puts it fairly enough: the movie has an avant-garde roughness and unpredictability in its construction and use of symbols, but it's fundamentally a very characteristic, neo-Romantic study of the joys and agonies of being an artist. It's in two distinct parts. The first presents the artist (Rivero) trapped by his own work, eventually opting for the rebirth of a romantic martyrdom; the second plunges back into autobiography (reworking the snowball fight from Les Enfants Terribles), and resolves itself into a 'cosmic' riddle. The honesty and robustness of the images prevents the movie from lapsing into pretension or preciousness; it remains extremely interesting as a source of Cocteau's later work.
Cast and crew
Lee Miller Pauline Carton Odette Thalazac Enrique Rivero Jean Desbordes Fernand Dichamps Jean Cocteau