CANNES CLASSICS – Opium, Cocteau to music

Arielle Dombasle © FDC / GT

On the occasion of the tribute to Jean Cocteau for the fiftieth anniversary of his death, Cannes Classics is screening a musical comedy that Arielle Dombasle has dedicated to the director of Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) (1946).

Jean Cocteau was only thirty when he fell passionately in love with the writer Raymond Radiguet. The author of Diable au corps (The Devil in the Flesh) was ten years younger than Cocteau. The year was 1918, and jazz, which was gradually gaining popularity in Paris, was already permeating Cocteau’s daily life and work. In 1923, Radiguet’s death had a devastating impact on the life of the film maker, who sank into another form of addiction: opium.


A film about love, but above all a musical film, Opium also pays homage to the poems and sonnets written by the director. In Opium, Arielle Dombasle combines her two greatest passions: film and music, which she imagines as a clever blend of period pieces, including plenty of jazz, as well as more contemporary pieces.

I loved the idea of singing Cocteau. But in a film, you also need to tell a story and we hit on the idea of telling the story about Cocteau and Radiguet,” says Arielle Dombasle, who fleshed out the screenplay from the diary Cocteau kept during his detox treatment, started after Radiguet’s death. In the cast we find Julie Depardieu, Philippe Katerine and Grégoire Colin, who plays Cocteau and also has a role in Les Salauds (The Bastards), by Claire Denis, screened in Un Certain Regard.


Benoit Pavan

Thursday 23 May / Salle Buñuel / 7:15 pm.
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