Beauty and the Beast (2014 film)

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Beauty and the Beast
Beauty-and-the-beast-poster-2014.png
Theatrical Poster
Directed by Christophe Gans
Produced by Richard Grandpierre
Written by Christophe Gans
Sandra Vo-Anh
Based on Beauty and the Beast 
by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Starring Vincent Cassel
Léa Seydoux
André Dussollier
Music by Pierre Adenot
Cinematography Christophe Beaucarne
Edited by Sébastien Prangère
Production
company
Distributed by Pathé
Release dates
  • 12 February 2014 (2014-02-12) (France)
  • 14 February 2014 (2014-02-14) (Berlin)
Running time
112 minutes[1]
Country France
Germany
Language French
Budget €35 million[2]
Box office US$49.1 million (international)

Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a Franco-German romantic fantasy film based on the traditional fairy tale of the same name by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Written by Christophe Gans and Sandra Vo-Anh and directed by Gans, the film stars Léa Seydoux as Belle and Vincent Cassel as the Beast.[3]

The film was screened out of competition at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival[4] and was released in France on 12 February 2014 to positive reviews, becoming a box office success. International reviews were more mixed. It was nominated for the People's Choice Award for Best European Film at the 27th European Film Awards.[5][6] It also received three nominations at the 40th César Awards, winning Best Production Design for Thierry Flamand.[7][8]

Plot[edit]

In France, 1810, a widowed merchant (André Dussollier) is forced to sell his town house and many of his belongings after his ships are lost at sea, leaving him bankrupt. He moves to a simple house in the countryside with his six children, though the only one happy with the change is his youngest daughter, Belle (Léa Seydoux). One day news arrives that one of the merchant's ships is intact, so he and his eldest son return to town in the hopes of collecting the goods that will restore their wealth. However, the goods are seized by the local authorities, and the merchant is forced to flee into the forest when Perducas (Eduardo Noriega) threatens to harm him over his son's debts.

While lost in the forest, the merchant stumbles upon the magical domain of the Beast (Vincent Cassel). The merchant takes treasure from the castle, but is captured by the Beast for stealing a single rose for Belle. The Beast allows the merchant to go and say goodbye to his children, but says he must return to take his punishment, or his entire family will be killed. Feeling responsible, Belle steals her father's horse and returns to the castle to take her father's fate.

At the castle, Belle is given luxurious goods and allowed to roam the grounds, but must return every evening for dinner with the Beast. At dinner, the Beast asks Belle if she will love him, but she rejects his advances. At night, Belle has vivid dreams about the castle as it used to be, and of the Prince who used to live in it. The Prince was in love with a Princess (Yvonne Catterfeld), who agreed to marry him as long as he promised to stop hunting an elusive golden deer in the woods, saying that his obsession keeps him away from her.

Belle asks the Beast if he will allow her to see her family one more time. He agrees, but warns her that if she doesn't return the next day as promised, he will die. Belle returns home, where she finds that her father is bedridden and her siblings are hiding from Perducas and his minions. Belle's eldest brother sees her clothing and assumes there is more treasure to be found. He goes to Perducas and his men, bargaining the treasure in the castle for his families' safety. The group travel to the castle where they raid its treasure, which includes a golden arrow held by a statue.

Belle has a final dream about how the Prince broke his promise and killed the golden deer in the woods with a golden arrow. While dying, the golden deer transformed into the Princess, who revealed that she has been a forest nymph all along, and her father is the god of the forest. As punishment, the god of the forest transformed the Prince into the Beast and his friends into statues, saying that the spell can only be broken if someone loves him as he is.

Belle awakens and learns that her brothers and Perducas have gone to the Beast's castle. She races after them, arriving just as the Beast is killing the intruders. The Beast stops his attack when Belle begs for mercy, but Perducas uses the golden arrow to stab the Beast, mortally wounding him. Belle has her brothers, now regretful, carry the Beast into the castle to a well of magical healing water. While dying, the Beast asks whether Belle could ever love him, and she replies that she already does. The Beast sinks into the water, and when he rises up again he has transformed back into the Prince.

The film ends with the story being told by Belle to her two young children. They are living in the same countryside house with Belle's father, and Belle goes outside to greet her husband, the Prince, who has just returned.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Principal photography took place in Germany, at the Babelsberg Studio in Potsdam-Babelsberg, from November 2012 to February 2013, on a production budget of €35 million.[9]

Release[edit]

In Japan, the film topped the box office on its release, making it the first non-English-language foreign film to top the Japanese box office since Red Cliff II in 2009, and the first French film to top the Japanese box office since Mathieu Kassovitz's The Crimson Rivers in 2001.[10]

Box office[edit]

The film earned a total of US$49.1 million internationally.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

In France, the film received positive reviews.[12] France Télévisions called the film Christophe Gans' "greatest success". They praised the colours and contrasts of the landscape, which they said recalled the work of American painter Maxfield Parrish, and the visual style, which they compared to films by Mario Bava and Tsui Hark. They also noted that Gans had successfully differentiated the film from the source material and prior adaptations, while keeping the "spirit" of the original story.[13] Laurent Pecha of EcranLarge remarked that while the film was "far from perfect", it was "so ambitious" compared to the "doldrums" of French cinema that Gans won her over. She called the introduction "spectacular" and praised Gans for his willingness to make the audience believe the "incredible and improbable love story", praising the "excellent" Seydoux and Cassel.[14] Writing for TF1, Olivier Corriez gave the film 4 stars out of 5 and remarked that it was not easy to offer a modern interpretation of Beauty and the Beast as it had been adapted so many times before, but found Gans' film "flamboyant" but "accessible to all audiences". He said that it "plays wonderfully on contrasts" and praised Seydoux for her "charm and tenderness" and Cassel for providing "brutality [and] weakness."[15]

International reviews were more mixed. Jessica Kiang of Indiewire thought the film was "immensely, crushingly boring" and Seydoux wasted in a role that required her to do little more than "heave her breasts and fall over things prettily."[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "La Belle et La Bête". AlloCiné. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  2. ^ "Christophe Gans • Director". Cineuropa. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  3. ^ Vincent Cassel et Léa Seydoux : Une relecture grandiose de La Belle et la Bête
  4. ^ "Berlinale 2014: Competition Complete". berlinale. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  5. ^ "EFA Opens Vote for People's Choice Award". European Film Academy. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "European Film Academy opens vote for People’s Choice Award 2014". Cineuropa. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Kristen Stewart Among France's Cesar Awards Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Cesar Awards: 'Timbktu' Sweeps, Kristen Stewart Makes History". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  9. ^ ""La belle et la bête" et "Noé", deux films attendus en 2014". TF1. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  10. ^ Kevin Ma (12 November 2014). "Beauty and the Beast, Twilight top Japan B.O.". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  11. ^ Nancy Tartaglione and David Bloom (January 10, 2015). "‘Transformers 4′ Tops 2014’s 100 Highest-Grossing International Films – Chart". deadline.com. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  12. ^ http://www.allocine.fr/film/fichefilm-203397/critiques/presse/#pressreview40009516
  13. ^ ""La Belle et la bête" : Léa Seydoux et Vincent Cassel dans une version épique". France Télévisions (in French). 10 February 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Critique : Belle et la Bête (La)". EcranLarge (in French). 12 February 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "La Belle et la Bête". TF1 (in French). 10 February 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "Berlin Review: Christophe Gans' 'Beauty And The Beast' Starring Léa Seydoux & Vincent Cassel". Indiewire. 15 February 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 

External links[edit]