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Criterion Press Release: September 2008 Titles


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#1 of 15 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted June 18 2008 - 08:01 PM

CRITERION COLLECTION SEPTEMBER 2008

Ophuls and Ozu: two masters whose approaches to film couldn’t have been more different. Whereas German-French director Max Ophuls luxuriated in swooning, rich camera movements and tragic period melodrama, the wildly influential Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu produced one elegantly composed, hushed contemporary character piece after another. Yet both remain equally important in cinema history, and this September we offer some of their greatest films, from three of Ophuls’s robust, most beloved French works to Ozu’s fragile, beautiful final film.

The Earrings of Madame de . . .
French master Max Ophuls’s most cherished work, The Earrings of Madame de . . . is an emotionally profound cinematographically adventurous tale of false opulence and tragic romance. When the aristocratic woman known only as Madame de . . . (the extraordinary Danielle Darrieux) sells her earrings, unbeknownst to her husband (Charles Boyer), in order to pay personal debts, she sets off a chain reaction, the financial and carnal consequences of which can only end in despair. Ophuls adapts Louise de Vilmorin’s incisive fin de siècle novella with virtuosic camera work so eloquent and precise it’s been called the equal to that of Orson Welles.

Info
• Directed by Max Ophuls (Letter from an Unknown Woman, La ronde, Le plaisir)
• Starring Danielle Darrieux (La ronde, Le plaisir, 8 Women, Persepolis)
• Starring Charles Boyer (Algiers, Gaslight, Love Affair)
• Cinematography by Christian Matras (Fanfan la tulipe, Le plaisir, The Milky Way)

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
• New, restored high-definition digital transfer
• Audio commentary featuring film scholars Susan White and Gaylyn Studlar
• Interviews with Ophuls collaborators Alain Jessua, Mar Frédérix, and Annette Wademant
• A visual analysis of The Earrings of Madame de . . . by film scholar Tag Gallagher
• Interview with novelist Louise de Vilmorin on Ophuls’s adaptation of her story
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A new essay by Molly Haskell, Louise de Vilmorin’s novella Madame de, upon which the film is based, and a reprinted essay by costume designer and longtime Ophuls collaborator Georges Annenkov
• More!

Title: The Earrings of Madame de . . .
CAT: CC1767D
UPC: 7-15515-03162-2
ISBN: 978-1-60465-061-7
SRP: $39.95
Prebook: 8/12/08
Street date: 9/16/08

La ronde
Simone Signoret, Anton Walbrook, and Simone Simon lead a roundelay of French stars in Max Ophuls’s delightful, acerbic adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s controversial turn-of-the-century play La ronde. Soldiers, chambermaids, poets, and aristocrats, all are on equal footing in this multicharacter merry-go-round of love and infidelity, directed with a sweeping gaiety as knowingly frivolous as it is enchanting, and shot with Ophuls’s trademark intricate cinematography.

Info
• Directed by Max Ophuls (Caught, Le plaisir, The Earrings of Madame de . . . )
• Starring Simone Signoret (Casque d’or, Room at the Top, Army of Shadows)
• Starring Anton Walbrook (49th Parallel, The Red Shoes, Lola Montès)
• Starring Gérard Philipe (Fanfan la tulipe, Beauty and the Devil, The Red and the Black)

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
• New, restored high-definition digital transfer
• Audio commentary featuring film scholar Susan White, author of The Cinema of Max Ophuls
• An interview with Academy Award–winning filmmaker Marcel Ophuls, discussing his father’s work
• Interview with actor Daniel Gélin (Napoléon, Testament of Orpheus)
• Interview with film scholar Alan Williams
• Selected correspondence between Sir Laurence Olivier and Heinrich Schnitzler (the playwright’s son), illustrating the controversy surrounding the source play
• New and improved subtitle translation
• PLUS: A new essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty

Title: La ronde
CAT: CC1765D
UPC: 7-15515-03142-4
ISBN: 978-1-60465-059-4
SRP: $39.95
Prebook: 8/12/08
Street date: 9/16/08

Le plaisir
Roving with his dazzlingly mobile camera around the decadent ballrooms, bucolic countryside retreats, urban bordellos, and painter’s studios of late nineteenth-century Parisian society, Max Ophuls brings his astonishing visual dexterity and storytelling bravura to this triptych of tales by Guy de Maupassant about the limits of spiritual and physical pleasure. Featuring a stunning cast of French stars (including Danielle Darrieux, Jean Gabin, and Simone Simon), Le plaisir pinpoints the cruel ironies and happy compromises of life with a charming and sophisticated breeziness.

Info
• Directed by Max Ophuls (Caught, La ronde, The Earrings of Madame de . . .)
• Starring Danielle Darrieux (La ronde, The Earrings of Madame de…, 8 Women)
• Starring Jean Gabin (Pépé le Moko, La bête humaine, Touchez pas au grisbi)
• Starring Simone Simon (Cat People, La bête humaine, La ronde)

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
• New, restored high-definition digital transfer
• Introduction by filmmaker Todd Haynes
• English- and German-language versions of the opening narration
• From Script to Screen, a video essay featuring film scholar Jean-Pierre Berthomé discussing the evolution of Ophuls’s screenplay for Le plaisir
• Interviews with actor Daniel Gélin, assistant director Tony Aboyantz, and set decorator Robert Christidès
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A new essay by film critic Robin Wood

Title: Le plaisir
CAT: CC1766D
UPC: 7-15515-03152-3
ISBN: 978-1-60465-060-0
SRP: $39.95
Prebook: 8/12/08
Street date: 9/16/08

An Autumn Afternoon
Yasujiro Ozu’s final film is also his final masterpiece, the gently heartbreaking story of a man’s dignified resignation to both life’s ever-shifting currents and society’s gradual modernization. Though widower Shuhei Hirayama (Ozu’s frequent leading man Chishu Ryu) has been living comfortably for years with his grown daughter, a series of events leads him to accept and encourage her marriage and departure. As elegantly composed and achingly tender as any of the Japanese master’s films, An Autumn Afternoon (Sanna no aji) is one of cinema’s fondest farewells.

Info
• Directed by Yasujiro Ozu (Late Spring, Tokyo Story, Early Summer)
• Starring Chishu Ryu (Late Spring Twenty-Four Eyes, Tokyo Twilight)
• Starring Shima Iwashita (Late Autumn, Harakiri, Double Suicide)
• Starring Kyoko Kishida (Woman in the Dunes, Being Two Isn’t Easy, The Face of Another)

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
• New, restored high-definition digital transfer
• New audio commentary featuring David Bordwell, author of Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema
• Excerpts from “Yasujiro Ozu and the Taste of Sake,” a 1978 French television program looking back on Ozu’s career, featuring film critic Michel Ciment
• Theatrical trailer
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by film scholars Geoff Andrew and Donald Richie

Title: An Autumn Afternoon
CAT: CC1768D
UPC: 7-15515-03172-1
ISBN: 978-1-60465-062-4
SRP: $29.95
Prebook: 8/26/08
Street date: 9/30/08

Eclipse from the Criterion Collection – September 2008 release

In the New York Times, Vincent Canby once declared Aki Kaurismäki to be “the seminal European filmmaker of the 1990s.” Unfortunately, the exquisitely crafted, hilarious films from the Finnish master haven’t been seen as widely as that statement would suggest. This September, Eclipse hopes to begin changing that fact with the release of three of Kaurismäki’s funniest and most popular titles. The influence of his films can be seen in everything from the work of Jim Jarmusch to Wes Anderson; now it’s time everyone got acquainted with the original genius of deadpan.

ECLIPSE SERIES 12: AKI KAURISMÄKI’S PROLETARIAT TRILOGY
The poignant, deadpan films of Aki Kaurismäki are pitched somewhere in the wintry nether lands between comedy and tragedy. And rarely in his body of work has the line separating those genres seemed thinner than in what is often identified as his “Proletariat Trilogy,” Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, and The Match Factory Girl. In these three films, something like social-realist farces, Kaurismäki surveys the working-class outcasts of his native Finland with detached yet disarming amusement. Featuring commanding, off-key visual compositions and delightfully dour performances, the films in this triptych exemplify the talents of a unique and highly influential film artist.

THREE-DISC BOX SET INCLUDES:

Shadows in Paradise (1986)
Lonely garbageman Nikkander (Matti Pellonpää) finds himself directionless after losing his friend and co-worker to a sudden heart attack; unlikely redemption comes in the form of plain supermarket cashier Ilona (Kati Outinen, in her first of many performances for Kaurismäki), with whom he begins a tentative love affair. Boiling down what is essentially a romantic comedy to a series of spare and beautiful gestures, Kaurismäki conjures an unexpected delight that finds hope blossoming even amid gray surroundings.

Ariel (1988)
In Kaurismäki’s drolly existential crime drama, a coal miner named Taisto (Turo Pajala) attempts to leave behind a provincial life of inertia and economic despair, only to get into ever deeper trouble. Yet a minor-key romance with a hilariously dispassionate meter maid (Susanna Haavisto) might provide a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Ariel, which boasts a terrific soundtrack of Finnish tango and Baltic pop music and lovely cinematography by Kaurismäki’s longtime cameraman Timo Salmimen, put its director on the international map.

The Match Factory Girl (1990)
Kaurismäki took his penchant for despairing character studies to unspeakably grim depths in the shockingly entertaining The Match Factory Girl. Kati Outinen is memorably impenetrable as Iris, whose grinding days as a cog in a factory wheel, and nights as a neglected daughter living with her parents, ultimately send her over the edge. Yet despite her transgressions, Kaurismäki makes Iris a compelling, even sympathetic figure. Bleak yet suffused with comic irony, The Match Factory Girl closes out the “Proletariat Trilogy” with a bang—and a whimper.

Title: Eclipse series 12: Aki Kaurismäki’s Proletariat Trilogy
CAT: ECL052
UPC: 7-15515-03202-5
ISBN: 978-1-60465-065-5
SRP: $44.95
Prebook: 8/19/08
Street date: 9/23/08

Essential Art House** – September 2008 release

This fall, Janus Films and the Criterion Collection introduce Essential Art House, a new line of indispensable cinema classics. For Volume 1, we’re pleased to select six of the greatest films from around the world, from directors Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski, Peter Brook, Jean Cocteau, and Jean Renoir. All will be available separately, or in one box set. For the devoted cinephile, these are the must-own fundamentals; for the novice film-lover, this is precisely where to begin.

GRAND ILLUSION
Jean Renoir’s pacifist masterpiece stars Jean Gabin as a French World War I POW held by Erich Von Stroheim’s German captain. One of the greatest antiwar films ever made, as well as a rousing prison-escape adventure, Grand Illusion is an exemplar of the 1930s poetic realist movement.

Info
• Directed by Jean Renoir (The Rules of the Game, The River, The Golden Coach)
• Starring Jean Gabin (La bête humaine, Pépé le moko, Touchez pas au grisbi)

Title: Grand Illusion
CAT: EAH002
UPC: 7-15515-03262-9
ISBN: 978-1-60465-074-7
SRP: $19.95
Prebook: 8/5/08
Street date: 9/9/08

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Jean Cocteau reinvented the fairy tale for the cinema with this enchanting, exquisitely realized version of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont’s fantasy romance. With all manner of unparalleled visual effects and photographic tricks, Cocteau makes the spellbinding tale of transformative love both ethereal and tangible, and his indelible images still haunt the cinema like no other.

Info
• Directed by Jean Cocteau (Blood of a Poet, Orpheus, Testament of Orpheus)

Title: Beauty and the Beast
CAT: EAH003
UPC: 7-15515-03272-8
ISBN: 978-1-60465-075-4
SRP: $19.95
Prebook: 8/5/08
Street date: 9/9/08

RASHOMON
The murder of a man and the rape of his wife in a forest grove—seem from four different perspectives. Toshiro Mifune explodes as the feral bandit who may or may not be guilty of these crimes in Akira Kurosawa’s meditation on the nature of “truth”—a classic, humane allegory that transformed narrative cinema as we know it and turned its director into an international sensation.

Info
• Directed by Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, High and Low, Ran)
• Starring Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo)

Title: Rashomon
CAT: EAH004
UPC: 7-15515-03252-0
ISBN: 978-1-60465-073-0
SRP: $19.95
Prebook: 8/5/08
Street date: 9/9/08

WILD STRAWBERRIES
Weaving a tapestry of memory and dreams, Ingmar Bergman delves into the past of aged professor Isak Borg, en route to receive an award from his alma mater for a life he no longer understands. Following directly on the heels of his international breakthrough The Seventh Seal, the alternately warm and nightmarish Wild Strawberries cemented Bergman as the leading art-house visionary of his era.

Info
• Directed by Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal, Cries and Whispers, Fanny and Alexander)

Title: Wild Strawberries
CAT: EAH005
UPC: 7-15515-03242-1
ISBN: 978-1-60465-072-3
SRP: $19.95
Prebook: 8/5/08
Street date: 9/9/08

A husband, a wife, a stranger, a knife: Roman Polanski sets them all adrift on a weekend filled with simmering resentments and gut-churning suspense in his seminal psychological thriller, still one of the greatest feature debuts in film history. With Knife in the Water, Polanski revealed his delight in exploring sexual and class boundaries with ruthless precision.

Info
• Directed by Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, The Pianist)
Title: Knife in the Water
CAT: EAH006
UPC: 7-15515-03232-2
ISBN: 978-1-60465-071-6
SRP: $19.95
Prebook: 8/5/08
Street date: 9/9/08

THE LORD OF THE FLIES
Under the direction of Peter Brook, William Golding’s classic fable, about a swarm of young boys who, without adult supervision, devolve into chaos after crash-landing on a remote island during wartime, becomes an unforgettable work of cinematic horror. Shot with almost verité camera work, Lord of the Flies takes a radical approach to Golding’s metaphor, grounding it in a terrifying reality.

Info
• Directed by Peter Brook (The Beggar’s Opera, Marat/Sade)
Title: Lord of the Flies
CAT: EAH007
UPC: 7-15515-03222-3
ISBN: 978-1-60465-070-9
SRP: $19.95
Prebook: 8/5/08
Street date: 9/9/08

** TITLES AVAILABLE SEPARATELY OR AS A BOX SET

Title: Essential Art House: Volume 1
CAT: EAH001
UPC: 7-15515-03192-9
ISBN: 978-1-60465-064-8
SRP: $99.95
Prebook: 8/5/08
Street date: 9/9/08


ATTN CANADA: ALL TITLES ARE AVAILABLE IN ALL CANDA, EXCEPT FOR AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON, WHICH IS AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH SPEAKING CANADA ONLY.

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 15 OFFLINE   Charles Ellis

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Posted June 19 2008 - 12:28 AM

Nice, but any news on Ophuls' Letter From an Unkown Woman?
Bring "The continuing story of PEYTON PLACE" home on DVD: the one that started it all- from Dallas and Dynasty to Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl!!! Starting this May, see the legendary saga starring Mia Farrow, Ryan O'Neal, Barbara Parkins, and Oscar-winner Dorothy Malone on DVD thru...

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted June 19 2008 - 03:29 AM

Kind of surprised by Kaurismaki only getting the Eclipse series, as a couple of those films are better known than some of the full Criterion films. But looks to be a great set (and as an Eclipse, cheaper).

#4 of 15 OFFLINE   Jeff Newcomb

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Posted June 19 2008 - 04:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Ellis
Nice, but any news on Ophuls' Letter From an Unkown Woman?

If anyone will be releasing Letter From an Unkown Woman, it wil be Lionsgate. They acquired the rights from Paramount along with the vast majority of the Republic library. Paramount already completed a new transfer that Lionsgate can use several years ago, so its just a matter of putting it on the schedule.

#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted June 25 2008 - 04:55 AM

Cover art.

Posted Image Posted Image
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Posted Image Posted Image

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#6 of 15 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted June 26 2008 - 12:54 AM

Awesome to see Kaurismaki getting some overdue R1 exposure (as only two of his films have been so far released here on DVD). While I have the R2 discs and won't be picking up the Eclipse set, I highly recommend them for the uninitiated. Hopefully Criterion will pony up some more Kaurismaki releases - his other films are terrific!

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   Martin Teller

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Posted June 26 2008 - 03:31 AM

I was hoping Kaurismaki would get the "full Criterion treatment" rather than being shuffled off to the Eclipse line. Especially Match Factory Girl, which is my favorite. Still, it's much, much better than nothing.

#8 of 15 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted June 26 2008 - 11:54 PM

Yeah, if these releases had special features I definitely would have double-dipped! My Kaurismaki fav is Juha, with Drifting Clouds running a close second.

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Charles H

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Posted June 27 2008 - 01:19 AM

LionsGate owns LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN and CAUGHT via their Republic holdings. Is there a respectable R1 LOLA MONTES out there? I recall that Criterion issued a CAV laserdisc of it about 20 years ago.
Charles Hoyt

#10 of 15 OFFLINE   leomichel

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Posted June 27 2008 - 11:18 AM

Is there any way to know what the running time of La Ronde will be?

The print that's been circulating in revival theaters in Paris since the early 90s, as well as an abysmally bad out-of-print French DVD, have a running time of about 95 minutes. However, a French VHS, published by Les Editions Montparnasse in 1991, restored an additionnal 10 minutes of footage to the JL Barrault-Isa Miranda sequence, and the movie seemed much more balanced, as the last sequences have a lesser impact in the cut version.

I hope Criterion will have a DVD of the complete film.

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted June 28 2008 - 03:31 AM

So what's the deal with art house set? Is this just a repackaging of those titles? If so, what's the point?
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

"Subtitles good. Hollywood bad." - Tarzan, Sight & Sound 2012 voter.

"My films are not slices of life, they are pieces of cake." - Alfred Hitchcock"My great humility is just one of the many reasons that I...

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted June 28 2008 - 06:31 AM

The Art House releases are like Crit's budget line of previously released transfers on single barebones discs in more efficient packaging. No extras or extensive sets, commentaries, etc and no fancy bells and whistle packaging. Priced more affordably for the economic spender. Personally, I'd rather pay the extra $10-15 for the full blown editions so this really interests me very little. But I can see how some film enthusiasts would appreciate it.

#13 of 15 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted June 28 2008 - 03:45 PM

Thanks. I can just ignore them then.
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

"Subtitles good. Hollywood bad." - Tarzan, Sight & Sound 2012 voter.

"My films are not slices of life, they are pieces of cake." - Alfred Hitchcock"My great humility is just one of the many reasons that I...

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted June 29 2008 - 06:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by leomichel
Is there any way to know what the running time of La Ronde will be?

The print that's been circulating in revival theaters in Paris since the early 90s, as well as an abysmally bad out-of-print French DVD, have a running time of about 95 minutes. However, a French VHS, published by Les Editions Montparnasse in 1991, restored an additionnal 10 minutes of footage to the JL Barrault-Isa Miranda sequence, and the movie seemed much more balanced, as the last sequences have a lesser impact in the cut version.

I hope Criterion will have a DVD of the complete film.

Criterion.com lists it at 97 minutes.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted July 03 2008 - 10:51 AM

An Autumn Afternoon's cover art is up and it looks great!

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932






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