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Tales of Love: The Enchanted World of Jacques Demy

July 25, 2013 - August 31, 2013

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One of the most gifted filmmakers to emerge during the French New Wave, Jacques Demy (1931–1990) created a fascinating body of work, characterized by its bittersweet sensibility. Masterfully choreographed camera movements and a penchant for colorful decorative elegance are trademarks of Demy’s cinematic style. At the center of many of his films is music: Demy’s frequent collaborations with composer Michel Legrand give another distinctive quality to his melancholic tales of love. From the spectacular opening glissando of Bay of Angels, in which the electrifying score accompanies a tracking shot along the French Riviera, to the sung-through recitative of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg or the expressive dance numbers of The Young Girls of Rochefort, Demy’s cinema is one of harmony and grace. His use of location shooting—in his hometown of Nantes, Cherbourg, Rochefort, and, remarkably, Los Angeles—reveals his love for locale. Demy’s world is steeped in tender emotion, his eye for cinema an extension of his love of life.

This is the largest Demy series we have ever mounted, and includes his early shorts from the fifties and several of his lesser-known works from the seventies and eighties as well as his best-known films, several presented in restored versions. Essential to this series are three films directed by AgnèsVarda, made shortly after Demy’s death, in which she offers a privileged perspective on her husband’s aesthetic sensibilities and achievements.

Susan Oxtoby, Senior Film Curator

Thursday, July 25, 2013
7:00 p.m. Lola
Jacques Demy (France, 1961). Digital Restoration! A nightclub dancer (Anouk Aimée) waits, against all logic, for the return of the lover who left her with a child seven years earlier. Demy's first feature, "among the most neglected major works of the French New Wave” (Jonathan Rosenbaum). With short, Le sabotier du Val de Loire. (114 mins)

Friday, July 26, 2013
7:00 p.m. Bay of Angels
Jacques Demy (France, 1962). (La baie des anges). Digital Restoration! Jeanne Moreau is a faded gambler ready for one last spin along the French Riviera, accompanied by a puppyish bank clerk. Music by Michel Legrand. "An exhibition of cinematic personality reminiscent of Dietrich's best” (NY Times). (85 mins)



Saturday, July 27, 2013
8:30 p.m. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Jacques Demy (France, 1964). (Les parapluies de Cherbourg). Digital Restoration! A paean to Catherine Deneuve, French design, 1960s chic, MGM musicals, and the songs of Michel Legrand. A boy and girl love, lose, love again, and lose again against an assortment of fabulous wallpaper, singing all the while. Repeated on Saturday, August 31. (92 mins)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
7:00 p.m. Jacquot
Agnès Varda (France, 1991). (Jacquot de Nantes). Demy's wife Agnès Varda (Vagabond, The Gleaners and I) crafted this affecting and enlightening portrait of the artist as a young boy in 1940s Nantes. "A one-of-a-kind celebration” (NY Times). (118 mins)

Friday, August 2, 2013
9:00 p.m. Model Shop
Jacques Demy (France/U.S., 1969). Digital Restoration! This sequel to Lola finds Anouk Aimée, now a little older and sadder, in Los Angeles, working in a "model shop" where lonely men go to snap photos of beautiful women. "One of the great movies about L.A." (Time Out). With short, Lust. (106 mins)

Sunday, August 4, 2013
6:30 p.m. Donkey Skin
Jacques Demy (France, 1970). (Peau d’âne). Digital Restoration! This charming adaptation of a fairy tale by Charles Perrault (creator of Cinderella) has been called Demy’s “grand synthesis of Cocteau and Minnelli.” Catherine Deneuve, Jean Marais, and Delphine Seyrig star. (90 mins)

Thursday, August 8, 2013
7:00 p.m. The Young Girls of Rochefort
Jacques Demy (France, 1967). (Les demoiselles de Rochefort). Catherine Deneuve and sister Françoise Dorléac are twins lifted out of their small-town reveries by a troupe of wandering entertainers led by Mr. American in Paris himself, Gene Kelly. "Not merely charming or amusing, but profoundly moving" (Sight and Sound). Repeated on Friday, August 30. (124 mins)

Friday, August 9, 2013
7:00 p.m. The Young Girls Turn 25
Agnès Varda (France, 1993). (Les demoiselles ont eu 25 ans). Agnès Varda’s splendid documentary revisits the town of Rochefort on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the shooting of The Young Girls of Rochefort, where she finds evidence of the film’s lasting effects on the townspeople. The perfect accompaniment to Demy’s masterful achievement. With short, Ars. (83 mins)

Sunday, August 11, 2013
6:45 p.m. The World of Jacques Demy
Agnès Varda (France, 1994). Varda’s third documentary on Demy is a beautiful summary of her husband’s career, and features interviews with Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli, Danielle Darrieux, Jeanne Moreau, and many more of his collaborators. With Demy’s 1957 short, Le bel indifférent. (120 mins)


Thursday, August 15, 2013
7:00 p.m. A Slightly Pregnant Man
Jacques Demy (France/Italy, 1973). (L’évènement le plus important depuis que l’homme a marché sur la lune). Driving instructor Marcello Mastroianni and his hairdresser wife Catherine Deneuve are faced with an unexpected pregnancy—his, in Demy’s surreal comedy. (93 mins)

Saturday, August 17, 2013
8:30 p.m. A Room in Town
Jacques Demy (France, 1982). (Une chambre en ville). Demy’s return to the musical is in an emotional key closer to opera than to Hollywood—more Donizetti than Stanley Donen. A 1955 labor strike in Nantes is the backdrop for a tale of tragic passions starring Richard Berry, Danielle Darrieux, Dominique Sanda, and Michel Piccoli. (95 mins)

Friday, August 23, 2013
8:35 p.m. The Pied Piper
Jacques Demy (U.K., 1972). Pop singer Donovan plays the fourteenth-century piper hired to rid a town, beset by the Black Plague, of its rats, in Demy’s darkly political interpretation of the Brothers Grimm tale. “Deserves to be remembered as a very strange hybrid indeed: a neo-Marxist fairytale” (Jump Cut). (90 mins)

Saturday, August 24, 2013
8:20 p.m. Three Seats for the 26th
Jacques Demy (France, 1988). (Trois places pour le 26). Demy’s last film is a retrospective, self-reflexive tribute to the romance of show business. Yves Montand stars as himself, returning to his hometown of Marseille to rehearse an autobiographical revue. “Quirky, appealing, and, in effect, Demy’s farewell to cinema.” (Time Out). (103 mins)

Friday, August 30, 2013
8:30 p.m. The Young Girls of Rochefort
Jacques Demy (France, 1967). (Les demoiselles de Rochefort). Catherine Deneuve and sister Françoise Dorléac are twins lifted out of their small-town reveries by a troupe of wandering entertainers led by Mr. American in Paris himself, Gene Kelly. "Not merely charming or amusing, but profoundly moving" (Sight and Sound). Also playing on Thursday, August 8. (124 mins)

Saturday, August 31, 2013
8:15 p.m. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Jacques Demy (France, 1964). (Les parapluies de Cherbourg). Digital Restoration! A paean to Catherine Deneuve, French design, 1960s chic, MGM musicals, and the songs of Michel Legrand. A boy and girl love, lose, love again, and lose again against an assortment of fabulous wallpaper, singing all the while. Also playing on Saturday, July 27. (92 mins)

We wish to thank the following for their assistance with this retrospective: Cecilia Rose, Cine-Tamaris; Delphine Selles-Alvarez and Laura Pertuy, French Cultural Services New York; Denis Bisson and Nora Orallo, French Consulate San Francisco; Sarah Finklea and Brian Belovarac, Janus Films; Grover Crisp, Sony Pictures; and James Quandt, TIFF Cinematheque.