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Tales of Love: The Enchanted World of Jacques Demy

Friday, August 30, 2013
8:30 p.m. The Young Girls of Rochefort
Jacques Demy (France, 1967)

Also playing on Thursday / 8.8.13

(Les demoiselles de Rochefort). See it large—a dance musical as antithetical to the small screen as West Side Story, whose choreography it emulates and whose star George Chakiris improbably appears here, along with Gene Kelly, Mr. American in Paris himself. In the sleepy town of Rochefort, denizens who somnolently dance sidewise down the street are energized by the arrival of a traveling commercial fair that passes for spectacle. Catherine Deneuve and her talented sister Françoise Dorléac play musical twin sisters who while away the hours in their Barbie doll outfits until they can hitch a ride to love and fame. In Demy’s clever patter set to Michel Legrand’s music, their barista mother Danielle Darrieux dreams of a love lost to the silliness of the French language, and everyone around her pines, in rhyme, for a poetic ideal. Billed as a paean to American musicals, this is more in the Lola line of Demy films, where longing itself leads the past around to the present. It’s vintage French: sugary surface, just a hint of the grotesque, and legs.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Demy. Photographed by Ghislain Cloquet. With Catherine Deneuve, Françcoise Dorléac, Gene Kelly, Michel Piccoli, Danielle Darrieux. (124 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, ’Scope, 35mm, From Institut Français, permission Cine-Tamaris)