In Nantes, a bored young man named Roland is letting life pass him by when he has a chance meeting with a woman he knew in his teens: she's Lola, now a cabaret dancer. She's also the ... See full summary »
Delphine and Solange are two sisters living in Rochefort. Delphine is a dancing teacher and Solange composes and teaches the piano. Maxence is a poet and a painter. He is doing his military... See full summary »
Billy Bigelow has been dead for fifteen years, and now outside the pearly gates, he long waived his right to go back to Earth for a day. But he has heard that there is a problem with his ... See full summary »
Joey Evans is charming, handsome, funny, talented, and a first class, A-number-one heel. When Joey meets the former chorus girl ("She used to be 'Vera...with the Vanishing Veils'") and now ... See full summary »
Geneviève, 17, lives with her widowed mother, who owns an umbrella shop in Cherbourg. She and Guy, a twenty-year-old auto mechanic, are secretly in love and want to marry, but when she reveals this to her mother, her mother objects on the grounds that Geneviève is too young and Guy is not mature or well-established enough, particularly since he has not yet done his required military service. Shortly after this, Guy is drafted to serve in the war in Algeria. Before he leaves, he and Geneviève consummate their love for each other, which results in her becoming pregnant. While Guy is away they drift apart, and Geneviève, strongly encouraged by her mother, accepts a marriage proposal from a well-to-do gem dealer named Roland Cassard, who has fallen in love with her at first sight and has promised to bring up her child as his own. (The character of Cassard is continued from Demy's earlier film Lola (1961).) Guy is wounded and is discharged before his two-year term is up, but when he ... Written by
M. Paul Shore
The first of the three segments is perhaps the sunniest film ever made. It's a totally original film (at least from what I've seen); so original, in fact, that at first it's kind of off-putting -- the artificiality of the bubble gum colors (in the first segment, as they change slightly as each moves into the next), the constantly moving camera, and the fact that all of the lines are sung makes it hard to get situated within the film, for the same reason that you turn the car radio down when you're driving down a street trying to read house numbers. ("I can't follow the plot, they keep singing...") And yet Demy isn't satisfied with just being sunny (and his brightness is never garish); each segment has a specific feel, the grandest being the last, with an ending that's just right. (Though it should be said that Demy never once sacrifices the pleasure he creates, nor does he fall into any stale conventions, even while his story is based on the oldest of movie clichés -- wait for me!).
I hesitate to use the word melodrama, but that's essentially what the film is, both for the meaning of the word "melo" (music) and for the heightened emotions brought on my the music. It feels like we've got our head in the clouds, not least of all because the acting is aided by, well, the singing. The music, which is nearly always splendid (and never song-and-dancey), compliments the actors. At first the acting is very plain; or at least, it seems that way. I think that's due to the unconventional approach. Deneuve's loveliness as a young woman keeps us from responding to much aside from her beauty (and she starts off as a typical love-struck sixteen year-old), but by the end she's quite a different person, and to overuse a term applied to Deneuve, she becomes elegant. (I kept looking at her handsome costar thinking Alain Delon would have been perfect in the role; then I learned his most noteworthy film aside from this one was the Delon-starring Visconti film, "Rocco and His Brothers.) Surely some people would probably vomit at a film of such shameless exhibitionism and style, but I was left astonished, thinking, How in the hell did they pull it off? 9/10
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