Un chant d'amour (Song of Love) [1950] (DVD)

Jean Genet

DVD Currently unavailable

Amoeba Review

Tiffany Huang 04/26/2008

French writer Jean Genet made his only film, Un Chant d'Amour (A Song of Love), in 1950, but because of its explicit and homosexual content, it was banned and later disowned by Genet. Now, we are fortunate to witness its release and wide distribution. Jean Genet, like Kenneth Anger, used classic cinema's formalities to tell the story – and within that we are like the prison-guard character in this film – voyeuristically deemed the romantic and erotic desires of men who, in their absolute loneliness, can only dream of each other. The walls retain their physical isolation, but somehow their fantasies materialize through masturbatory sexual acts and sharing cigarette smoke through the tiny holes in the wall.


The characters, repressed and alone, interact in the most poetic and arresting ways. Most interesting to watch is the prison guard's journey, whose turn of motives are surprising yet beautiful. The images are shot in the classic black-and-white fashion, and the silent factor contributes to the driving visual style. To both the experimental film viewer and the classic cinema audience –here's a film that we are privileged to watch – earnest, original, and authentic in its very own right.


2-Discs.    In French with English subtitles. 


Cult Epics is proud to present Jean Genet's rarely seen semi-pornographic film Un Chant D'Amour. Originally made for Parisian gay porn collectors in 1950, the film is visually reminiscent of Jean Cocteau's Blood of a Poet, Belle et la Bete and Kenneth Anger's Fireworks. The story, set in a prison with three main characters, a guard and two prisoners, is a voyeuristic, confrontational, poetic masterpiece. Despite all elements of his writings being present, Genet actually denounced the making of this film when he became popular as a novelist. Forbidden in France upon its release, and only available in the US in censored form and through underground distribution, Un Chant D'Amour is now released from its obscurity and is presented in its complete version, with a new transfer.

Product Details

  • Starring: Coco Le Martiniquais, Java, Lucien Sénémaud
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, DVD, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Label: Cult Epics
  • Release Date: 02/27/2007
  • Run Time: 25 minutes
  • Catalogue #: 055

Special Features

  • New Film Transfer
  • Introduction by Jonas Mekas
  • Audio Commentary by Kenneth Anger
  • Still Photo Book
  • Genet: Documentary by Antoine Bourseiller (52 min.)
  • Jean Genet: Interview by Bertrand Poirot-Delpech (46min.)
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