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Jonas Mekas, John Richardson and Edmund White on Jean Cocteau

Join Jonas Mekas, John Richardson, and Edmund White as they discuss Claude Arnaud’s passionate and monumental biography of Jean Cocteau — which reassesses the life and legacy of one of the most significant cultural figures of the twentieth century.

Unevenly respected, easily hated, almost always suspected of being inferior to his reputation, Jean Cocteau has often been thought of as a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. In this landmark biography, Claude Arnaud thoroughly contests this characterization as he celebrates Cocteau’s fertile but “fragile genius — a combination almost unlivable in art”.

Arnaud narrates the life of this legendary French novelist, poet, playwright, director, filmmaker, and designer who, as a young man, pretended to be a sort of a god, but who died as a humble and exhausted craftsman. His moving and compassionate account examines the nature of Cocteau’s chameleon-like genius, his romantic attachments, his controversial politics, and his intimate involvement with many of the century’s leading artistic lights–including Picasso, Proust, Hemingway, Stravinsky, and Tennessee Williams.

In English. Free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary.