Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais’s Creative Marriage

Reflecting on Jean Marais’s performance as the hero in Orpheus, Jean Cocteau once said that the actor “illuminates the film for me with his soul.” At the heart of the visionary auteur’s extravagantly designed fantasy worlds, Marais served as an abiding muse, bringing a depth of humanity and passion to his otherworldly characters. The pair’s iconic partnership, both on- and offscreen, takes the spotlight in our latest installment of Creative Marriages, a Criterion Channel series that celebrates legendary romances that were also important artistic collaborations. In the clip below, programmer Michael Sragow discusses the couple’s intense emotional bond and the two films that remain their most beloved achievements, Orpheus and Beauty and the Beast. Head over to the Channel to watch this surrealist double bill, then check out our previous episodes on Roger Vadim and Brigitte Bardot, and Federico Fellini and Giulietta Masina.

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