Jacques Demy,one of the most approachable filmmakers to appear in the wake of the French New Wave. Uninterested in the formal experimentation of Alain Resnais, or the political agitation of Jean-Luc Godard, Demy instead created a self-contained fantasy world closer to that of Fran?ois Truffaut, draw
After working with the animator Paul Grimaultthe filmmaker Georges Rouquier, Demy directed his first feature film, Lola, in 1961, with Anouk Aimée playing the eponymous cabaret singer. The Demy universe here emerges fully-fledged. Characters burst into song (courtesy of composerlifelong Demy-collaborator Michel Legr); iconic Hollywood imagery is lovingly appropriated as in the opening scene with the man in a white Stetson in the Cadillac, daringly set to Beethovens "Seventh Symphony"); plot is dictated by the directors fascination with fate,stock themes of chance enerslong-lost love;the setting, as with so many of Demys films, is the French Atlantic coast of his childhood, specifically the seaport town of Nantes.
La Baie des Anges (The Bay of Angels, 1963), starring Jeanne Moreau, took the theme of fate further, with its story of love at the roulette s.
Most impressive of all was his musical, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1964). Although the subversion of established genres was a typically New Wave obsession (notably Godards playful thriller-cum-sci-fi, Alphaville), Demy was unusual in actually recreating them literally. The whimsical concept — rare in musicals — of singing all the dialogue sets the tone for this tragedy of the everyday. The film also sees the emergence of Demys trademark visual style: whereas Lola, filmed by Godards cinematographer Raoul Coutard, has a New Wave blackwhite austerity, Les Parapluies is shot in saturated supercolour, with every tiny detail — neck-ties, wallpaper, even Catherine Deneuves bleach-blonde hair — ed for maximum visual impact. Interestingly, the young man, Rol Cassard, from Lola (Marc Michel) reappears here, marrying Deneuve: such reappearances are typical of Demys work.
He never quite recaptured the brilliance of these first three films, although he was rarely dull. Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967), another Deneuve musical, has some of the best French songs of the period,an engaging cameo from an aging Gene Kelly, in which Kelly speakssings in French. Lola reappears in the unusually experimental Model Shop (1969), his first American film. Peau d?ne (Donkey Skin, 1970) is a visually extravagant, if rather literal, interpretation of a fairytale, again with Deneuve.
Subsequent films are less highly regarded, but may well be due for reappraisal: David Thomson wrote about "the fascinating application of the operatic technique to an unusually dark story" in Une chambre en ville (A Room in Town, 1982). After years of neglect, Demys strengths have been recognized,Parapluies de Cherbourg was digitally restoredreissued to great acclaim in 1998.
Demy was the husb of fellow director Agnès Varda, whose documentary Jacquot de Nantes is a loving ac of Demys childhoodhis lifelong love of theatrecinema.
Jacques Demy died of AIDS (information given in Agnès Vardas 2008 autobiographical movie Les Plages dAgnès) in 1990 at age 59was interred in the Montparnasse Cemetery in Montparnasse.
* Lola (1960)
* La Luxure, episode in Les Sept péchés capitaux (1961)
* La Baie des Anges (1962)
* Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964)
* Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967)
* Model Shop (1969)
* Peau d?ne (The Donkey Skin or The Magic Donkey) (1970)
* The Pied Piper (1972)
* Lévénement le plus important depuis que lhomme a marché sur la lune (The slightly pregnant man) (1973)
* Lady Oscar (1979)
* La Naissance du Jour (made for TV, 1979)
* Une chambre en ville ("A room in town") (1982)
* Parking (1982)
* Latournante (1988)
* Trois places pour le 26 (1988)