It is seldom the case that an artist working in one medium is not influenced by other forms of creation. Stevie Nicks is not an exception in this case, having drawn inspiration from other music legends such as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix as well as visual artists like Sulamith Wülfing. In addition, she was also moved by literary giants Oscar Wilde and John Keats.
Regularly cited as one of the greatest songwriters in history, it is no wonder that Nicks was influenced by the lyricism of such pioneers. She had also been accused of actually practising witchcraft due to her mystical on-stage persona. Although that is purely absurd, Nicks has confessed that she was intrigued by the works of occult writer Aleister Crowley – especially Crowley’s 1922 book Diary of a Drug Fiend.
In an interview last year, Nicks said that she does have faith in the existence of a spiritual realm. “Some people are really afraid of dying, but I’m not,” she elaborated. “I’ve always believed in spiritual forces. I absolutely know that my mom is around all the time.” These thematic obsessions that Nicks has been reflected in the investigations of one of her filmmakers as well.
Although she has mentioned films such as Julia and Mary, Queen of Scot in her list of top cinematic picks, the director that had the most impact on Nicks’ life was Jean Cocteau. A visionary of French cinema who managed to translate his poetic sensibilities into visual masterpieces, Cocteau’s films didn’t just provide artistic impetus to the French New Wave which would follow soon but also contributed to the creation of Queer Cinema.
Nicks’ favourite film by Cocteau was Beauty and the Beast, a 1946 masterpiece of French cinema which starred Cocteau’s lover and muse Jean Marais in his interpretation of the famous bedtime story. Through unforgettable images and stunning innovations, Cocteau managed to weave together an enigmatic meditation on love, human mortality and the human condition itself.
Cocteau’s other films must have been constant sources of inspiration for Nicks as well, especially his 1950 magnum opus Orpheus which was his take on the Orpheus and Eurydice mythology. The story revolves around a poet in postwar Paris who follows a strange princess from the monotonous world of the living into the mysterious domain of the dead. Given Nicks’ spiritual inclinations, Orpheus would definitely rank high on her list.