“The Blood of a Poet” Viewing Response

“The Blood of a Poet” is a challenging yet captivating film told in four interrelated chapters. While I struggle to grasp the meanings of the film itself (if there are in fact concrete meanings), the beautiful imagery and visual ingenuity kept me enthralled throughout its runtime. Made in 1930, Jean Cocteau’s innovative filmmaking techniques feel miles ahead of its time. Rather than using the medium to tell a concrete story that follows the rules of reality, Cocteau made the most of the visual wonder possible in film, creating a surreal, dreamlike experience for viewers. Moments such as the artist falling through the mirror into a dark abyss, the hallway of doors that defies the laws of gravity, and the angel’s arrival in the final chapter are just a few of the many scenes that exemplify the creativity and otherworldly nature of the film. By abandoning the rules of conventional cinema and failing to adhere to the laws of reality, the film allows us to appreciate the pure spectacle of its imagery.

While there isn’t a clear story, the opening sections of “The Blood of a Poet” seemed to focus on a struggling artist seeking inspiration. The statue tells him to travel through a mirror, and once he does so he is transported into an alternate world, possibly a visualization of his subconscious. A central motif that stood out to me was the idea of destruction and rebuilding. One of the first and final shots of the film shows a smokestack collapsing. Inside one of the rooms in the gravity-defying hallway, a man is shot to death, then the scene reverses and he comes back to life. Later, the artist shoots himself in the head, then comes back to life, exits the world within the mirror, and destroys the statue. In the third chapter, a boy is killed, then is seemingly salvaged by an angel. All of these moments depict destruction and rebuilding, or death and rebirth. I find it difficult to relate this motif to the story itself, but maybe it has something to do with the beauty of creating art despite the struggles the artist must face to do so. Were there other moments in the film that showcased the motif of destruction and rebuilding? How do you think this motif relates to the themes/meanings of the film? Were there other meanings you found within the film?