FANTASY, MUSICAL / FRANCE / 1970 (RESTORED VERSION) / 85 MINS / PG
Few filmmakers have captured the romance of fairy tales quite like legendary French New Wave filmmaker Jacques Demy. Following The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), Donkey Skin was the third collaboration between Demy and screen icon, Catherine Deneuve. The newly restored 2K version of Donkey Skin marks the classic film’s 50th anniversary, and sees Deneuve playing the dual roles of a dying queen and her daughter, the princess. Deneuve also stars in Farewell to the Night, Hotel America and Happy Birthday at this year’s Festival.
A king (Jean Marais) promises his queen that he will only re-marry if he can find someone more beautiful than her. He narrows his list down to the princess, his daughter. Disturbed by the thought of an incestuous marriage, the princess escapes to a nearby kingdom where even her fairy godmother (Delphine Seyrig, AF FFF19, Last Year at Marienbad) is unable to help her. Under a new identity, the princess adopts the humble life of a pauper. But, when she crosses paths with a handsome prince (Jacques Perrin, AF FFF18, Remi, Nobody’s Boy; AF FFF11, Empire of Mid-South), will the impossible happen and true love conquer all?
Based on the 17th century classic by Charles Perrault – who also wrote Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty – Demy does not shy away from the more adult elements of Donkey Skin, placing them fittingly within a mesmerising storybook world. The film was a blockbuster in France on its first release and continues to dazzle as much today as it did 50 years ago.
French with English subtitles.
“Donkey Skin is told with the simplicity and beauty of a child's fairy tale, but with emotional undertones and a surrealistic style that adults are more likely to appreciate.”– Chicago Sun-Times
“It's practically a primer on how to rework a literary classic into an impressively restrained movie with something fresh and intelligent to say.”– The Boston Globe
“It's both innocent and bizarre, with a mischievous sense of fantasy marked by simple but striking cinematic magic.”– The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
DIRECTED BY: JACQUES DEMY
STARRING: CATHERINE DENEUVE, JEAN MARAIS, JACQUES PERRIN, DELPHINE SEYRIG, MICHELINE PRESLE