Donkey Skin

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"The skin of an animal hid her captivating beauty that only a prince could discover!"
  • G
  • 1970
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • 7.0  (6,305)
  • 70

Donkey Skin is a 1970 French film that is a wonderful blend of fairytale, musical and fantasy genres. The film features Catherine Deneuve, a well-known French actress, and is directed by Jacques Demy. The film is an adaptation of Charles Perrault's fairytale and narrates a story of a beautiful princess who escapes from her father’s castle wearing a donkey skin to avoid an arranged marriage. The movie is notable for its whimsical visuals, melodious songs, and fantastic costumes.

The story revolves around the princess, who is deeply loved by her father. After the queen dies, the king (played by Jean Marais) plans to marry his daughter. The king, who is unaware of his daughter’s objections, prepares for the wedding. In a desperate attempt to avoid the wedding, the princess acquires a donkey skin as a disguise. She then decides to flee the palace, leaving behind all of her jewels and other belongings.

The princess finds refuge in a farm where she is welcomed by the farmer, played by Jacques Perrin. The farmer is initially shocked to see a lady wearing a donkey skin, but soon understands her situation. The two connect, and the farmer agrees to let the princess stay on his farm as long as she likes. The princess, now known as Donkey Skin, takes on menial chores and starts to lead a humble life.

While living on the farm, the princess continues to refuse the king’s suitors. The king, however, is determined to find his missing daughter and marry her off. He sends a bird to search for his lost daughter and soon comes to know about her whereabouts. The king then hatches a plan to lure the princess back to the palace, but will the princess return to the palace? Will the king force her into marriage despite her wishes? These questions shape the core of the movie’s plot.

The film has many delightful musical numbers, including the popular song "Peau d'Ane" (Donkey Skin), which is repeated several times throughout the movie. Catherine Deneuve's beautiful voice complements the catchy tunes of the song. The film's music, composed by Michel Legrand, is a highlight of the movie and adds to its overall charm.

The movie's production design is imaginative and impressive. The bright and colorful costumes, vast sets, and intricate props serve to create a fantastic world that is as captivating as it is surreal. The film’s dreamy visuals also lend it an ethereal quality, which is further enhanced by the use of soft lighting and pastel colors. The props and costumes used in the film are undoubtedly some of the most eccentric and whimsical creations ever seen on the silver screen.

The lead actors, Catherine Deneuve, Jean Marais, and Jacques Perrin, deliver solid performances throughout the film. Deneuve’s portrayal of the princess is delicate and charming, while Marais plays the stern and overpowering king effectively. Perrin's role as the farmer is also well-done, and he adds a touch of warmth and kindness that helps balance out the other dramatic elements.

Overall, Donkey Skin is a movie that is sure to delight viewers looking for a beautifully whimsical and captivating fairy tale experience. The film’s delightful visuals, exceptional music and excellent performances make it a true gem of French cinema. The fantastical nature of the movie, along with its unique plotting and lovable characters, ensures that it stays in viewers' minds long after watching it.

Donkey Skin
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 30 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (6,305)
  • Metascore