Jean Cocteau is one of the most talented artists of the 20th century. He was a director, novelist, painter, playwright, actor and poet. He started his writing career at 10 and published poetry by 16. He worked with Sergei Diaghilev of the Russian Ballet on set design and performance. His work emphasized his poetry and his films use surreal imagery and symbolism. Jean Cocteau is still regarded as one of the most important directors in film.
Cocteau made twelve films during his career and all included his lover Jean Marais. He was posthumously nominated for a Tony Award in 1995 for Indiscretions. Cocteau's first success was the novel Les Infants Terribles (1929) and he made this novel into a film in 1950.
He was an honorary president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1957 and continued to work at the film festival as a juror. Cocteau enlisted in the Army during WWI and was an ambulance driver. His saying, "A film is a petrified fountain of thought" has been used many times by directors. Cocteau was an avowed homosexual and never hid his proclivities.