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Cultural Center

A Pen of Light:
The Films of Jean Cocteau


October 1-3, 2003

in cooperation with the Rhode Island School of Design
and the
Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York

The Hofstra Cultural Center presented a celebration of the film work of Jean Cocteau, October 1-3, 2003. On the 40th annivesary of his death, the conference examined the oeuvre of Cocteau's cinematic poetry.

Written with a pen of light, the magical La Belle et la Bête, Le San d'un Poète, Orphèe and Les Enfants Terribles only begin the list of Cocteau's legacy of fairy tale, myth and parable. His unique ability to combine classical style with modern psychology and personal memoir makes Cocteau a hallmark of postwar filmmakers, an essential auteur.

The films of Jean Cocteau have influenced amateur and independent filmmakers since the French New Wave by keeping alive the spirit of youth and possibility. From the prewar play of ideas in Le Sang d'un Poète through films produced under the challenging conditions of the occupation, to the liberating experiments of the postwar period, Jean Cocteau sums up the human, or at least, French condition.

For a full listing of conference panels and events please see the Final Progam.

Conference highlights included:

  • Panels and round-table discussions.
  • Banquet honoring special guest.
  • Screenings of the following films: La Belle et la Bête, Le San d'un Poète, Orphèe, Les Enfants Terribles, Les Parents Terribles, Le Baron Fanôme, L'Eternel Retour, L'Aigle à Deux Tête, Ruy Blas, Thomas l'Imposteur and Le Testament d'Orphée.

There was also an exhibition, In the Eye of the Camera: Jean Cocteau and "Beauty and the Beast" in the Hofstra Museum.

Conference Co-Directors:

David Pushkin
Assistant Professor of Fine Art
New College
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY

Michael Fink
Professor of English
Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, RI

Conference Coordinators:

Athelene A. Collins
Associate Director
Hofstra Cultural Center

Natalie Datlof
Executive Director
Hofstra Cultural Center

For more information about the conference on Jean Cocteau please contact the Hofstra Cultural Center at (516) 463-5669.