Women and men in cinema are imaginary constructs created by filmmakers and their audiences. The film-psychoanalytic approach reveals how movies subliminally influence unconscious reception. On the other hand, the movie is embedded in a cultural tradition: Jean Cocteau's film La Belle et la Bete (1946) takes up the classic motif of the animal groom from the story of Cupid and Psyche in Apuleius' The Golden Ass (originally a tale about the stunning momentum of genuine female desire), liberates it from its baroque educational moral (a girl's virtue and prudence will help her to overcome her sexual fears), and turns it into a boyhood story: inside the ugly rascal there is a good, but relatively boring prince - at least in comparison to the monsters of film history. In the seventy years since it was made, La Belle et la Bete has inspired numerous interpretations and has been employed by theorists of all genres and interests.
Beauties and Beasts in Film Psychoanalysis -- Women and images of men in cinema -- Psychoanalytical film interpretation—possibilities and limitations -- Beautiful beasts—motif tradition and film psychoanalysis in Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête (F 1946) -- The Beauties -- La Belle, la Bête, et la rose -- “You can’t say no to the Beauty and the Beast …”* Or: an ending and no beautiful beast -- The Beasts -- Once upon a time—Beauty and the Beast—a surrealistic survival attempt in the year 1946? -- Coming over to the wild side: women’s yearning for beastly encounters in the course of film history