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Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel play the leads in this retelling of an old classic. The trailer may be in French, but the story is familiar. We can't wait to see how The Beauty and the Beast is tailored to today's audience.
In 1946, Jean Cocteau brought Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont's story, La Belle et la bête to the big screen. Since then, countless directors have made and remade the film. The latest is Christophe Gans, an auteur who draws inspiration from both Japanese horror movies, and the likes of Sergio Leone. His best known film is Silent Hill (2006), but his most acclaimed is the French historical thriller, Brotherhood of the Wolf. He tackles a different kind of beast in Beauty and the Beast.
Garnering much attention for her role in festival favorite Blue is the Warmest Color, Léa Seydoux shifts gears a bit. As Belle, she balances being strong and sweet. "Take me to that castle," she tells her horse. "Take me to that beast." To the beast: "My name is Belle, and I've come to take my father's place." Hers is a more active Belle, not going to the castle to free her father, but to save everyone else.
Beast Concept Art
The few glances we get of the Beast in the trailer may make you say, "Oh, but he isn't very beastly!" Gans' Beast does not resemble the one in the Disney film. Instead, this Beast draws inspiration from the first Beast presented on screen: Cocteau's. He's of human height, with a short snout and "groomed" face. He isn't necessarily physically imposing, but the underlying theme is that selfishness and isolation make us beastly. "You are nothing but a beast; cruel and desolate," says Belle.
From the fairytale beginning to the epic finale, Alexandre Desplat's music alone gives us something to look forward to. He is known for composing every score for Wes Anderson film since The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts I & II, and many more.
Return to the Fairytale Genre
Lately, there has been a trend to tailor fairytales to a more adult audience, whether through violence or returning to their overtly sexual roots. Beauty and the Beast flirts with this idea, but isn't afraid to let itself stay a fairytale. After all, it does start "once upon a time".