Thursday, July 25, 2013
Jacques Demy (France, 1961)
Jacques Demy’s wondrous debut feature was an epiphany of poetic (neo)realism for the sixties: romantic cynicism in the tradition of René Clair and Max Ophuls, worked into a modern objectivity. In telling of a nightclub dancer (Anouk Aimée) who waits, against all odds or logic, for the return of the lover who left her with a child seven years earlier, it has a fairytale quality in which past and present crystallize into one emotion. Coincidence and repetition work as a kind of eternal return as characters from Lola’s past appear in the present, in new form, while retaining their past selves completely. There is the little girl in love with the American sailor, and the American sailor in love with Lola; there is the white-suited lover in a Cadillac that fills the wide screen and finally spirals off into Lola’s future. Raoul Coutard’s sun-struck camerawork reveals Nantes as even Demy, a native, might not have known it, etching sadness all around Lola and her improbable universe.
• Written by Demy. Photographed by Raoul Coutard. With Anouk Aimée, Marc Michel, Jacques Harden, Alan Scott. (91 mins, In French with English subtitles, B&W, DCP, From Janus Films/Criterion Collection)
Le sabotier du Val de Loire (France, 1956). Demy’s first film was hailed by French filmmakers and critics as a great achievement, especially because of its use of neorealism. It chronicles a week in the life of a sabotier (clog maker). (23 mins, In French with English subtitles, B&W, DCP, From Cine-Tamaris)
Total running time: 114 mins