Donkey Skin

Peau d'âne

dir. Jacques Demy

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Catherine Deneuve plays a double role in Jacques Demy's spectacular mounting of Charles Perrault's seventeenth-century fairy tale.

A resplendent restoration of one of Demy's most opulent films, a work that still exerts a powerful hold on French popular culture. Making her third appearance for Demy, Catherine Deneuve plays a double role in this spectacular mounting of Charles Perrault's seventeenth-century fairy tale. After his dying queen (Deneuve) makes him swear that he may only remarry a woman as beautiful as she, a widowed king embarks on a search that turns up only one possible candidate: his own daughter, the princess (Deneuve again). The princess manages to continually stall the incestuous marriage by making increasingly extravagant demands, until she is finally forced to flee disguised in the eponymous donkey skin. A dream cast, including Jean Marais as the king and Delphine Seyrig as the princess' fairy godmother, surrounds the delectable Deneuve, and Demy tosses in some startling anachronisms before supplying a classic happy ending full of joy, song, and magic. "A dazzler, an entrancingly beautiful film done with charm, delicacy, taste and high imagination" (International Herald Tribune).