Jean Cocteau begins his film La belle et la beta like any other fairy tale with the cliché "Once upon a time."" But what begins as a fairy tale quickly turns into an hour and a half long exploration what is real and unreal. Cocteau is quoted as saying that the reason he filmed the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast is to "show realism in the unreal- (Prof. Brown 1/24/02). Cocteau wants to show how the two worlds can become undistinguishable. He succeeds in creating two entirely different worlds, one completely real and one completely surreal. Yet, at the same time, he makes it seem as though the two worlds are completely intertwined. Special effects, lighting and cinematography help to create two contrasting realities in Jean Cocteau's La belle et la beta (Beauty and the Beast).
Jean Cocteau combines the many different types of camera angles, shots, and movement to emphasize the different spheres. The use of high and low angles Beauty in the two different spheres. In Beauty's world, her sisters are shot from a low angle indicating their dominance in the family, while her father and herself are shot at high angles. The unique use of angles in the different spheres allows Cocteau to indicate to the audience who is the governing self in that sphere. Because the sisters are shot from the low angles, this indicated their distance from not only their family, but also animalism. Beauty, on the other hand, is often shot close to the ground and to animalism. When Beauty travels to the Beast's world, she is filmed from a low angle, indicating her growth in dominance. In the Beast's world, Beauty is treated as though she is a princess versus being treated like a servant in her own home. She is still close to animalism, but at the same time she has power over it. Another camera trick Cocteau uses is the use of tight-framed shots in Beauty's world versus the open, establishing shots in the Beast's world.