Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Peau D’Ane
Alternate title: Once Upon A Time
France, 1970. Marianne Productions, Parc Film. Screenplay by Jacques Demy, based on the fairy tale by Charles Perreault. Cinematography by Ghislain Cloquet. Produced by Mag Bodard. Music by Michel Legrand. Production Design by Jacques Dugied. Costume Design by Gitt Magrini. Film Editing by Anne-Marie Cotret. The Criterion Collection.
Hilarious fairy tale with a bent sense of humour, definitely targeted to grownups but perfectly suitable for children. Catherine Deneuve plays the luminous princess of a castle whose father promised her mother on her deathbed that he would never remarry unless he found another woman as beautiful as her. When his subjects demand a male heir of him, the only woman he can find who matches his deceased wife’s beauty is his own daughter (okay, maybe it’s not TOTALLY suited for children). She beseeches her fairy godmother (a delightful Delphine Seyrig) to help her out of this abomination, and so is disguised in a donkey skin and sent to another town to live as a scullery maid. There, she captures the eye of a handsome prince (Jacques Perrin), and the rest is an adorable journey to the land of Happily Ever After. Highlighted by tuneful songs by Michel Legrand (who scored most of Demy’s musicals), the film is as bright as cotton candy and moves along with a charming bounce.