|Catherine Denueve wearing her Donkey Skin.|
Donkey Skin (1970)
d. Jacques Demy
Criterion Collection #718
Part of The Essential Jacques Demy
Donkey Skin, Demy's take on the classic Charles Perrault (the French "Grimm Brothers") fairy tale, is a mouth-watering concoction, and it is one of those movies where the restoration of the film to its original technicolor glory is particularly important. The story is a dark version of the lost princess fairy tale. The King of the realm loses his wife, promising her that he will only marry a woman more beautiful than her. That turns out to be his daughter, played by Denueve, who is torn between her desire to please her doting father and well, the obvious fact that a marriage between a father and his birth daughter is monstrous. The voice of reason is her fairy godmother, winningly played by Delphine Seyrig, who tells her to obtain a donkey skin and wear it as a disguise. Denueve does, and she ends up working as the maid for a family of farmers. There, she is discovered by her prince, and singing ensues.
The sets are the star here- Demy's production is richly colored almost beyond comprehension, and you will be left gasping, even thought this fifty year old film wasn't shot in HD. Donkey Skin is a real tribute to the possibilities of color in film, and that is why you should give it a watch.