Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la B

7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Jan. 24-30 (except Tuesday), $7, Oak Street Cinema 309 Oak St., (612) 331-3134

This is not a Disney movie. This is French avant-garde director Jean Cocteau’s version of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s classic don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover tale of human nature from the mid-18th century. This is not a movie for children, and the themes of misunderstanding and sacrifice must have hit all the harder in 1946, in France, when Europe (and everywhere else) was coming out of the horrors of World War II. Full of surreal images and heavily symbolic, this film earned Cocteau his first following in the United States and established him as an art-house staple. Cocteau was an artistic jack of all trades, and in addition to his career as a director he also acted and designed sets for movies. He was also a painter and sculptor, and wrote prolifically about films and filmmaking, as well as authoring several novels and poetry. (Shapiro)