CATHERINE: I’m glad to be here and thank you for that introduction and I’d like to thank Yangqiao Lu, who initially sent out the invitation to me. So why screen the Young Girls of Rochefort now? Its 2017, this film came out in 1967, so that’s fifty years ago. To film curators, that’s normally enough to show something on it’s 50th or 25th anniversary, but I also think this film is an important one, its one that I really like and I think it gives a different vision of French cinema that you may be used to be seeing in American movies theaters. SO if you think about 1967 and French film, you’re probably thinking about Jon Luc Godard, François Truffaut…revolutionary filmmaking and this obsession with Maoism. This is not that type of film. Young Girls of Rochefort is made for a mass audience. It’s joyful, it’s delightful, it’s shot in vibrant color, it’s a different type of innovative formal filmmaking. So for a long time, Demy was thought of as less successful than Godard, he was thought of as less than an auteur, and he fell out of favor in 1970s and 80s and he’s recently made a comeback and this was due to the DVD box set of his work and the screenings organized around that, and I think that you will find him intriguing. He has a style that is about building a universe, it’s about creating an alternate world and that’s one of the things I want you to think about. How is he creating a different type of universe in his film?
Tag: Jacques Demy
UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG puts other musicals to shame. When I read that every word of dialogue was sung I didn’t believe it. Yet sure enough, this film ditches the dull dialogue in favor of a screenplay sung in its entirety. For a film that appears on the surface to be a mere piece of cinematic fluff, UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG consciously parodies classic American musicals and subsequently pulls inspiration from Pop Art.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – dir Jacques Demy – 1964 – Trailer
Jacques Demy’s 1964 film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg isn’t quite like anything else you’ll ever see (and that includes Demy’s loopier, messier musical follow-up The Young Girls of Rochefort). The first things that viewers notice about the film, and the last things that they would ever be likely to forget, are that The Umbrellas of Cherbourg unfolds in a rainbow of candy colors, and that every single line of dialogue is sung. It feels like a tribute to the glorious movie-ness of the movie musical, the heightened reality of all those sweet confections that the studios used to release so often, and viewers used to gobble up so eagerly. (At the top of the film, one gentleman ironically sings that he prefers movies to stage shows because all of the singing gives him a pain: a nod to Demy’s self-aware desire to make the movies sing again.) Yet while Umbrellas displays a reverence for Old Hollywood’s lavish musicals – which were the farthest thing from fashionable in 1964 – it uses their frothy look and feel to tell a story with a surprising level of grown up melancholy. As Roger Ebert puts it, “This style would seem to suggest a work of featherweight romanticism, but Umbrellas is unexpectedly sad and wise, a bittersweet reflection on the way true love sometimes does not (and perhaps should not) conquer all.” Unlike so many of our favorite movie musicals, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg understands that a passionate kiss and a glorious swell of music does not necessarily guarantee happily ever after.