THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG
LES PARAPLUIES DE CHERBOURG
1964, Janus Films, 91 min, France, Dir: Jacques Demy

Auto mechanic Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) gets girlfriend Genevieve (Catherine Deneuve) pregnant just before he leaves to fight in the Algerian war; they swear eternal allegiance to one another, but circumstances force Genevieve to marry another man and move to Paris. Jacques Demy tells this story entirely through music and lyrics, yet his musical is no fantasy - as critic Jonathan Rosenbaum has pointed out, it's an accurate portrayal of Paris that uses style to "exalt the ordinary." It's a one-of-a-kind film opera: a movie that is entirely artificial and stylized yet tough, complex and unsentimental - and more deeply moving than a dozen more conventional melodramas. In French with English subtitles.


LOLA (1961)
1961, Janus Films, 90 min, France, Dir: Jacques Demy

Jacques Demy’s feature debut was described by its director as a “musical without music,” though “a love story without love” may be just as appropriate. Roland (Marc Michel, who would later play the same role in Demy’s THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG) is smitten with his former girlfriend, Dietrich-esque cabaret dancer Lola (Anouk Aimée), but she pines for the lover who abandoned her years earlier. French New Wave mainstays Raoul Coutard and Michel Legrand provide the cinematography and score, respectively. In French and English with English subtitles.


MODEL SHOP
1969, Sony Repertory, 95 min, USA/France, Dir: Jacques Demy

Gary Lockwood stars as a young American who falls in love with French model Anouk Aimée, in Jacques Demy's only Hollywood studio feature (it was financed by Columbia). Aimée reprises her role as the titular character of Demy's first film, LOLA, but neither she nor Lockwood is the real star of MODEL SHOP: That honor goes to the city of Los Angeles itself, which Demy photographs with the same blend of wonder and authenticity that characterizes his French films. This is no idealized version of Hollywood - it's an L.A. of supermarkets and parking lots - yet Demy's romantic eye lends a style and dignity to even the most mundane people and locations. In English.


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