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Jacques Demys 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 fathers prized donkey as a disguise. A visiting Prince passes by, and an unlikely romance is born.
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 Cocteaus 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
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Never watched this movie as a kid growing up, but watched it many times as an adult who is still a kid inside. It surely beats many Disney or Rodger and Hammerstein movies, if you are into those types of things.