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
Each musical number was filmed twice, both in French and English, to make a French and an International version. However, in the International version, scenes with dialogues were only re-dubbed in English and not re-shot. The International version has never been released physically. See more »
Watching the Hollywood musicals of Astaire and Kelly, one can't help but marvel at the skill and precision of the dancing and the mise en scene, and be buoyed by the very idea that the world could be so perfect, if only in a movie. "Rochefort" isn't perfect in the same way, but in pushing the musical to a different plane it achieves a kind of perfection, one dependent not on the talents of its cast or, as the popular Broadway musicals were, on the book & lyrics.
(Which is not to say that there isn't great music! Themes are repeated, to be sure, but Legrand's melodies delight, and there's more musical variance here than in "Umbrellas of Cherbourg".)
Musicals, like most popular entertainment, usually serve to reinforce our ideals. The 30 years since its release may have been kind, but "The Young Girls of Rochefort" is a rare thing, an entertainment that challenges, flies in the face of convention.
Of special note are the colors, delightfully absurd; the English subtitles, much of which read in perfect sync (including rhymes) with the music (a coinciding English-language verson was shot but never released); the macabre- this has to be the happiest musical with a song about an ax-murder.
The world in which this movie exists hasn't been seen on the screen before or since. Of course, all musicals are fantasy of a kind, but Demy takes it somewhere else. It is one of film's truly unique experiences.
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