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 »
A male Parisian driving school owner who goes to see his doctor and complains of feeling run down is pronounced four months pregnant. When the diagnosis is confirmed by a specialist, the ... See full summary »
Greed, corruption, ignorance, and disease. Midsummer, 1349: the Black Death reaches northern Germany. Minstrels go to Hamelin for the Mayor's daughter's wedding to the Baron's son. He wants... See full summary »
Odile is looking for a new, bigger apartment. Her younger sister Camille just completed her doctoral thesis has fallen in love with an estate agent who is responsible for Odile's apartment ... See full summary »
Oscar François de Jarjayes was born female, but her father who longed for a son and a heir insisted she be raised as a boy, alongside, Andre Grandier, the grandson of her nanny. When Oscar ... See full summary »
George Matthews is a young man who is having a bittersweet affair with a French divorcée in Los Angeles. Waiting to be drafted, he is unable to commit himself to anything or anybody, ... See full summary »
Lucile, 25, is the beautiful mistress of Charles, a rich, good-hearted businessman. Being a kept woman suits her as she refuses to work. She is grateful to Charles for that but she does not... See full summary »
Roger Van Hool
This is October 1955. The place is a village in Loire-Atlantique, La Chapelle-Basse-Mer, where an old clog-maker works and lives with his wife and their adopted son. The clog-maker's ... 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 service. Simon owns a music shop, he left Paris once month ago to come back where he fell in love 10 years ago. They are looking for love, looking for each other, without being aware that their ideal partner is very close... A film whose scenario is much less important than its feeling of euphory, according to the director Jacques Demy. Written by
It's hard to put your finger on exactly what it is about the atmosphere of Jacques Demy's musicals that's so - well - appealing, but "The Young Girls of Rochefort" opens with a pretty big clue: the dancers assemble on what looks like a funny kind of suspension bridge, when suddenly the platform lifts off (as does Michel Legrand's music), to float over the water to the other side. The kids (including "West Side Story"'s George Chakiris) dance away as they drift along in mid-air, giving us the perfect metaphor for what Demy's about to offer: a sunny bagatelle that sets you free from gravity, but which is clearly - well - a little mechanical.
Or perhaps "artificial" is a better word - Demy's always straightforward about what he's doing, and the play of artifice in "Rochefort" is one of its peculiar charms. He doesn't seem to care that the gorgeous Catherine Deneuve and her real-life sister, Francoise Dorleac, aren't really dancers (or that even the "real" dancers are sometimes slightly out of sync) - they simply carry on with their numbers through sheer star power and happy sang-froid. As do their characters - what might count as tragedy in an American musical is always merely accepted in Demy ("The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" being the ultimate example). Only "Rochefort" is about tragedies constantly being averted or diverted - if "Umbrellas" was drenched in a perpetual rain shower, "Rochefort" is pure sun.
Gene Kelly is also on hand to do a few cameos as Francoise's love interest - and his main dance is a charming, quick-time take on what he used to do on a much broader canvas. George Chakiris is, as we remember from "West Side Story", a charming dynamo; Danielle Darrieux is her usual sublime self; and keep an eye out for a young Michel Piccoli as the ardent Monsieur Dam. Michel Legrand's score, again as usual, relies a bit too heavily on its big theme - but it's also about as jazzily sophisticated as musical scores ever got. The choreography doesn't offer any breakthroughs, but there are some charming sequences which are nearly as through-danced as "Umbrellas" was through-sung.
Altogether a charmer - big wigs, even bigger hats, and an exquisite pastel palette - what's not to like?
38 of 40 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?