29 Facts About Jean Cocteau


Jean Maurice Eugene Clement Cocteau was a French poet, playwright, novelist, designer, filmmaker, visual artist and critic.

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Jean Cocteau was one of the foremost creatives of the surrealist, avant-garde, and Dadaist movements; and one of the most influential figures in early 20th-century art as a whole.

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Jean Cocteau is best known for his novels Le Grand Ecart, Le Livre blanc, and Les Enfants Terribles ; the stage plays La Voix Humaine, La Machine Infernale, Les Parents terribles, La Machine a ecrire, and L'Aigle a deux tetes ; and the films The Blood of a Poet, Les Parents Terribles, Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus, and Testament of Orpheus, which alongside Blood of a Poet and Orpheus constitute the so-called Orphic Trilogy.

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Jean Cocteau was described as "one of [the] avant-garde's most successful and influential filmmakers" by AllMovie.

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Jean Cocteau, according to Annette Insdorf, “left behind a body of work unequalled for its variety of artistic expression.

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Jean Cocteau was born in Maisons-Laffitte, Yvelines, a town near Paris, to Georges Jean Cocteau and his wife, Eugenie Lecomte; a socially prominent Parisian family.

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From 1900 to 1904, Jean Cocteau attended the Lycee Condorcet where he met and began a relationship with schoolmate Pierre Dargelos, who would reappear throughout Jean Cocteau's oeuvre.

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Jean Cocteau published his first volume of poems, Aladdin's Lamp, at nineteen.

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Jean Cocteau soon became known in Bohemian artistic circles as The Frivolous Prince, the title of a volume he published at twenty-two.

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Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev persuaded Jean Cocteau to write a scenario for a ballet, which resulted in Parade in 1917.

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An important exponent of avant-garde art, Jean Cocteau had great influence on the work of others, including a group of composers known as Les six.

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Jean Cocteau was supported throughout his recovery by his friend and correspondent, Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain.

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Under Maritain's influence Jean Cocteau made a temporary return to the sacraments of the Catholic Church.

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Jean Cocteau again returned to the Church later in life and undertook a number of religious art projects.

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Jean Cocteau wrote the libretto for Igor Stravinsky's opera-oratorio Oedipus rex, which had its original performance in the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt in Paris on 30 May 1927.

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In 1930 Jean Cocteau made his first film The Blood of a Poet, publicly shown in 1932.

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Jean Cocteau effusively praised Breker's sculptures in an article entitled 'Salut a Breker' published in 1942.

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In 1940, Le Bel Indifferent, Jean Cocteau's play written for and starring Edith Piaf, was enormously successful.

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In 1945 Jean Cocteau was one of several designers who created sets for the Theatre de la Mode.

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Jean Cocteau drew inspiration from filmmaker Rene Clair while making Tribute to Rene Clair: I Married a Witch.

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In 1956 Jean Cocteau decorated the Chapelle Saint-Pierre in Villefranche-sur-Mer with mural paintings.

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Jean Cocteau was the author of the mildly homoerotic and semi-autobiographical Le Livre blanc, published anonymously in 1928.

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Jean Cocteau never repudiated its authorship and a later edition of the novel features his foreword and drawings.

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In 1947 Paul Morihien published a clandestine edition of Querelle de Brest by Jean Genet, featuring 29 very explicit erotic drawings by Cocteau.

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In recent years several albums of Jean Cocteau's homoerotica have been available to the general public.

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Jean Cocteau cast Marais in The Eternal Return, Beauty and the Beast, Ruy Blas, and Orpheus .

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Jean Cocteau died of a heart attack at his chateau in Milly-la-Foret, Essonne, France, on 11 October 1963 at the age of 74.

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Jean Cocteau's health had already been in decline for several months, and he had previously had a severe heart attack on 22 April 1963.

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In 1955, Jean Cocteau was made a member of the Academie Francaise and The Royal Academy of Belgium.

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