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THE MAGIC DONKEY

Director: JACQUES DEMY

FRANCE • 1970 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • 89 MIN


Legendary in France, Demy’s biggest hit is a partly musical adaptation of Charles Perrault’s fairy-tale about a princess (Catherine Deneuve) disguising herself as a donkey to escape marriage to her recently widowed father (Jean Marais). The film is notable for its chocolate-box embellishment of a cautionary tale about incest, for moments of bizarre grotesquerie, and for Delphine Seyrig, delightful as a malicious fairy godmother. As Fiona A. Villella has noted, ‘the irony that Demy is constantly pointing to is superbly expressed in the image of Deneuve disguised under a donkey skin. In the physical proximity between the beautiful and innocent daughter and the bloody, freshly slaughtered animal’s skin, there emerges the idea of the very fine line between monstrosity and beauty.’

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