L'Eternel Retour Review

Image for L'Eternel Retour

Looking for a wife for his lonely uncle, a handsome young man believes he has found just the girl. Sadly after accidentally drinking a love potion he falls in love with her himself. The family are visited by other relatives, most notably a dwarf who plays tricks on them.


Scripted by Jean Cocteau, this variation on the Tristan and Isolde legend has a modern setting but because it's one of those 40s French films which avoid all mention of the German occupation, has an eerie out-of-time fairytale quality.

Marais and Sologne are almost identical androgynous lovers, whose chiseled blonde looks suggest why this film could have appealed to Cocteau's gay followers as well as fans of the Nazi Aryan Ideal. A malevolent dwarf makes things rough for the leads in a castle on the coast, but they find it impossible to live apart. With its poisonous love potions, haunted characters and evocative emoting, this captures the sinister as well as the charming side of the myth.

Delannou's classic relies on not only the beautiful scenery but also the handsome leads to tell the story of star cross'd lovers. Although Marais and Sologne look more like brother and sister than lovers, the film is romantic, magical and beautiful to look at.