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Donkey Skin


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Product Details

  • Actors: Georges Adet, Annick Berger, Romain Bouteille, Louise Chevalier, Sylvain Corthay
  • Directors: Jacques Demy
  • Writers: Jacques Demy, Charles Perrault
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Original recording remastered, Restored, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: KOCH LORBER FILMS
  • DVD Release Date: May 10, 2005
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007VY472
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,856 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Donkey Skin" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jacques Demy’s ode to the classic fairy tale by 17th Century author Charles Perrault (Cinderella) comes to life with breathtaking brilliance. Digitally restored and re-mastered under the supervision of Agnès Varda (The Gleaners and I), this epic tale overflows with dazzling color, elaborate costumes and an enchanting score by Academy Award®-winning composer Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). Catherine Deneuve (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Indochine) stars as a Princess whose father, the King (Jean Marais), seeks her hand in marriage after promising his dying wife to only wed a woman more beautiful than she. Listening to her godmother, the Fairy of Lilacs (Delphine Seyrig), the frightened Princess flees to a neighboring farm and hides as a scullery maid, while wearing the skin of her father’s prized donkey as a disguise. A visiting Prince passes by, and an unlikely romance is born.

Amazon.com

Donkey Skin reunites Catherine Deneuve with Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand, yet it's quite unlike The Umbrellas of Cherbourg or The Young Girls of Rochefort. Those 1960s musicals were set in some semblance of the modern world, but Donkey Skin, based on a fable by Charles Perrault, takes place in a fantastical fairyland, located somewhere between The Wizard of Oz and La Belle et la Bête. Jean Marais, Jean Cocteau’s Beast, is even the king of the kingdom. Alas, he's just lost his queen (Deneuve), whose dying wish is that he marry a woman more beautiful than she. Deranged by loss, he decides on his daughter (Deneuve again). She's horrified--her fairy godmother (Delphine Seyrig), as well, so she devises a plan for the princess to flee, hidden by a donkey skin. Strange by any standards, Donkey Skin is one of the more magical musicals to emerge from the 1970s. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

A true work of art.
F. Morse
I adored it (without really understanding its mischeveous sense of humor and situations!).
SL
Watched it again, loved...and maybe kept on watching it sixty times.
Dassan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jean-Michel Decombe on June 25, 2005
Format: DVD
I saw that movie many times when I was growing up in France. It is part of this special set of "comfort" movies that everybody who grew up in France has probably seen many times as well... these special movies would be shown on french TV at and around Christmas. If you are interested in better understanding the french culture, you must see it, independently of its artistic merit (even though it is pretty high, in my opinion). Moreover, Catherine Deneuve is the most beloved/respected person in France (and the coolest thing about her is that she is still human, flawed, aware of it, and eminently approachable). Ebert is right when he says that she is ageless. The baking scene is a classic and the turning point in the movie. By the way, other "comfort" movies include the 5-DVD boxed set of Angélique adventures, recently released by RusCiCo (every french boy was in love with Michèle Mercier), any comedy by Louis de Funès (the epitome of french comedy for the whole family), and so forth. These are fantastic movies to be truly enjoyed, so I failed to understand the criticism of some about the fact that this or that scene would not be "believable".
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kuru on August 17, 2005
Format: DVD
This is a 90-minute fairy tale, filmed in brilliant colors (lots of primary reds and blues) using famous Loire chateaux as backgrounds. Unlike Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, the entire screenplay is not sung -- this is a more conventional musical with songs and spoken dialogue. The subtitles are easy to read and accurate. The transfer to DVD is excellent. This is the sort of film one can watch more than once, if only to enjoy the rich visual detail.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By F. Morse on September 6, 2005
Format: DVD
It does not matter how old you are. I saw it last month and I'm I'm a mature adult.

It's in French, but that did little to prevent me from seeing it three times, and the songs have since not left my head - every day, when I go into my kitchen, I hear the song Catherine sang when baking the cake for the prince.

Because it's a musical and the scenes are supplimented by music, it tends offer you additional triggers to recall scenes from the movies during the course of any given day.

Must see! A true work of art. I'm shamefully hooked, as it was probably meant for children, but I have a feeling adults will get more out of it than kids.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel Oak on June 8, 2005
Format: DVD
Jacques Demy made musical films like no one else. I've waited for years to see this movie released on DVD and I can't believe it's finally out. Catherine Deneuve and Jacques Perrin make the perfect romantic couple and they play their roles with a sense of humor. Once again Michel Legrand provides a lovely score with witty lyrics by Demy.The film costars Delphine Seyrig (who was featured in several key French films such as Stolen Kisses and Last Year at Marienbad) and Jean Marais who starred in Beauty and Beast. This is the perfect film to watch after Demy's The Young Girls of Rochefort and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on November 15, 2006
Format: DVD
You have to be able to give yourself to a movie without really understanding it, to appreciate the beautiful qualities of Jacques Demy's PEAU D'ANE. So much of the story doesn't make any sense to American viewers. Why, for example, does the Prince sham illness in order to get "Donkey Skin" to bake him a cake? He knows who she is, why doesn't he just go for it. Why go through the rigmarole of getting every woman in the kingdom to try on the ring? How does he know that only Catherine Deneuve would be able to wear the ring? What if he got someone else instead? (We see a cute reaction shot when a very young princess, maybe 4 or 5 years old, tries on the ring and it's way too big for her.)

Growing up in France, commercial TV played this movie every Christmas, just the way that here in the USA they were showing "It's a Wonderful Life." For us American children trapped in Paris at Christmastime, there was one great treat, a showing of "Peau D'Ane" every year to look forward to (this was in the days before DVDS and even VHS.) You'll see the special cake that Catherine Deneuve makes with her dirty twin, and you'll wonder why she makes such a flat cake for the prince--it's a visual reminder of our special Christmas cake, the "galette," round and flat, into which a shoe, a baby or other toy has been inserted. We would have a "buche de Noel" every year, always a cause for general applause. (The Princess slips a golden ring into the cake, and Prince Charming nearly chokes to death on it!) In many ways Demy puts in references to our charming French Christmas traditions. We would stay up late and have a midnight dinner the French servants called, the "Reveillon," an enormous feast with chickens, geese, sausage and sometimes quail.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By SL on May 20, 2005
Format: DVD
I grew up in France with the story of "Peau d'Ane" as one of my favorite fairy tales. I would watch the movie on French TV every Christmas and over and over once we got a VCR. I adored it (without really understanding its mischeveous sense of humor and situations!). The songs, Catherine Deneuve in the sun dress, the blue and red horses, Jean Marais as the handsome father... Everything in this movie is so typically "Jacques Demy"... It's like a beautiful and weird dream! It's no Disney for sure!!

Even years later this movie still enchants me.

It's also a great movie to get kids used to subtitled movies.
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