Vancity Theatre

DEMY MONDE: The Cinema of Jacques Demy

If you’ve ever felt that the world would be a better place if people talked less and sung and danced a lot more, then you already have an affinity for the enchanting vision of Jacques Demy. His twin masterpieces - The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort (both starring Catherine Deneuve) - are operatic melodramas of sorrow and joy, respectively.

Add to these Anouk Aimee in Lola and Model Shop, Jeanne Moreau in Bay of Angels, and Dominique Sanda in Une Chambre en ville, and you have one of the most beguiling careers in cinema.

All newly restored on DCP.

Extra: Kids get in to DONKEY SKIN free, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day

The series runs Dec 22 - Jan 1

All the films in the series are included with VIFF's Holiday Film Pass



The World of Jacques Demy

THE WORLD OF JACQUES DEMY

DEMY MONDE: The Cinema of Jacques Demy

Sun. Dec 22, 6:30pm; Sun. Dec 29, 2:15pm

France, 1995, DCP, 90 min.

DIRECTOR: Agnes Varda
FEATURING: Anouk Aimee, Catherine Deneuve, Harrison Ford, Jeanne Moreau, Michel Piccoli, Dominique Sanda

French with English subtitles

Related links: Clip | BUY TICKETS | Holiday Pass Accepted

Agnès Varda’s tribute to her late husband Jacques Demy (1931-1990) is a loving look at his brilliant vision and techniques. Included are clips from Demy’s films, along with interviews of those who worked with him and knew him best: Catherine Deneuve, Anouk Aimée, Michel Piccoli, composer Michel Legrand, Demy’s children, and fans. Among the more surprising interviewees is Harrison Ford, chosen by Demy for his US debut, Model Shop, only to be rejected by Columbia executives who insisted on an established star (and cast Gary Lockwood).

A happy working class boy who grew up in the Atlantic port Nantes, Demy began making animated short films in his bedroom when he was still just a child, creating models and puppets, a world unto himself. He would stay true to that project throughout his career.

The Demy-monde is a place of romance, song, grace and sometimes sorrow. Often, as one French critic said of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), it is ‘even better than heaven.’

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Of all the New Wave directors who once professed their joy in cinema, Demy remained most faithful to the delights of sight and sound and to the romance of movie iconography. With loving attention to those Atlantic coast towns — Nantes, Rochefort, and Cherbourg — where he grew up, Demy invented a world of benign and enchanting imagination." — David Thomson


Lola

LOLA

DEMY MONDE: The Cinema of Jacques Demy

Mon. Dec 23, 6:30pm; Fri. Dec 27, 2:15pm

France, 1961, DCP, 85 min.

DIRECTOR: Jacques Demy
CAST: Anouk Aimée, Marc Michel, Jacques Harden

French with English subtitles

Related links: Clip | BUY TICKETS | Holiday Pass Accepted

Lola, a cabaret dancer, is raising a boy whose father, Michel, left seven years ago. She is waiting for him. She sings, dances and occasionally dallies with passing sailors. Roland Cassard, a childhood friend whom she meets by chance, falls deeply in love with her. But she is waiting for Michel…

Jacques Demy had imagined his first film as a full-blown musical, but presented with a tenth of the budget he needed Demy curtailed his plans – though he still managed to shoot it in ’scope (the ravishing black and white photography is by Godard’s cameraman, Raoul Coutard) and pressed Michel Legrand into composing the score (after his original choice, Quincy Jones, fell through). Legrand, of course, would become a key collabortor over the next decade.

As the beloved eponymous cabaret artiste, an indelible character midway between Marlene Dietrich’s Blue Angel and Barbara Sukowa’s Fassbinder floozie, Anouk Aimée announces that “to want happiness is to already have a bit of it.” Demy’s friend Godard praised the film to the skies, and quoted from it in Une femme est une femme (1961) and Bande a part (1964).

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Magical… Lola is imbued with a poignant awareness of the transcience of happiness and the difficulties and unlikelihood of love." — Geoff Andrew, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

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Taps deep into a dreamy and wistful romantic spirit." — Blake Lucas, Defining Moments in Movies


Donkey Skin

DONKEY SKIN

DEMY MONDE: The Cinema of Jacques Demy

Tue. Dec 24, 2:15pm; Thu. Dec 26, 2:15pm

France, 1970, DCP, 90 min.

DIRECTOR: Jacques Demy
CAST: Catherine Deneuve, Jean Marais, Micheline Presle, Jacques Perrin, Delphine Seyrig

French with English subtitles

Classification: PG

KIDS FREE, please bring a food bank donation

Related links: Trailer | BUY TICKETS | Holiday Pass Accepted

Monarch Jean Marais (Cocteau’s star and muse) grants his dying queen Catherine Deneuve’s last request: to remarry a princess more beautiful than herself. But when the only one who fits the bill is daughter (Deneuve again), it’s ultra-chic fairy godmother Delphine Seyrig (Last Year at Marienbad) to the rescue, disguising her as malodorous scullion “Donkey Skin.” Demy’s adaptation of a 17th-century fable by Perrault was his third Michel Legrand-scored musical and his most over-the-top in stylization. It’s a charmingly perverse fairytale that will likely amuse parents at least as much as their off-spring.

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Like Demy’s other movies it’s one of a kind, at once monstrously Oedipal and charmingly infantile; Deneuve manages to be both hilarious and touching in her donkey drag." — J Hoberman


Umbrellas of Cherbourg

UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG

(Les parapluies de Cherbourg)

DEMY MONDE: The Cinema of Jacques Demy

Tue. Dec 24, 6:30pm; Sun. Dec 29, 6:30pm; Wed. Jan 1, 6:30pm

France, 1964, DCP, 91 min.

DIRECTOR: Jacques Demy
CAST: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon, Marc Michel

French with English subtitles

Classification: PG

Related links: Trailer | Review (video) | BUY TICKETS | Holiday Pass Accepted

Geneviève Emery (Catherine Deneuve), whose mother runs an umbrella store, is in love with Guy Foucher (Nino Castelnuovo). Mrs. Emery does not approve of her daughter’s romance with the young mechanic. Guy is drafted into the army, and Geneviève gives herself to him the night before he departs for the Algerian War. Now she’s pregnant, and Guy’s letters have become less frequent. Her mother insists that she must move on - but the past is not easily forgotten.

It was only with his third film that Demy realised his dream of an all-sung musical, and it is on The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and its sister film, The Young Girls of Rochefort, that his international reputation was established – and on which it still stands.

Lusciously scored by Michel Legrand, and whole-heartedly embracing an effervescent pastel palette (he repainted interiors and entire streets according to his colour design), these irresistible confections pour the elation and exuberance of the Hollywood musical into quotidien settings and arrive at an emotional pitch which is pure and direct. At his best Demy was nothing short of sublime.

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Surely one of the most romantic films ever made." — AO Scott, New York Times

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With this most rapturous of melodramas Demy incorporates song and dance in the service not of escape but of realism. The effect is as riveting as it is profoundly moving." — Joshua Klein, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die


Bay of Angels

BAY OF ANGELS

(Baie des anges)

DEMY MONDE: The Cinema of Jacques Demy

Thu. Dec 26, 6:30pm; Mon. Dec 30, 2:15pm

France, 1963, DCP, 79 min.

DIRECTOR: Jacques Demy
CAST: Jeanne Moreau, Claude Mann

French with English subtitles

Related links: Trailer | BUY TICKETS | Holiday Pass Accepted

Jean (Claude Mann) arrives in Nice (the "bay of angels") for a holiday. He discovers gambling and meets platinum-blonde Jackie (Jeanne Moreau), a high roller at the casino. Sparks fly between them and passion grows. But is it for one another, or for the game? Jean, still naive, begins his education.

Demy’s second film is a triumph of style, from Raoul Coutard’s mobile camerawork amid sun-splashed Riviera locations to Moreau, resplendent in white lacy bustier, flashing across a succession of mirrors in the penultimate shot.

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So existential, so romantic… The great beauty of [Bay] is the way the croupier’s spiraling wheel becomes a metaphor not for life’s randomness, but for its lack of permanence, its riskiness[:] [a] hardened demimondaine can bet on a number and suddenly abandon it to dash after her beloved — an ecstatic ending a few films later revealed as the cause of another heroine’s melancholy" — (Fernando F. Croce).


The Young Girls of Rochefort

THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT

(Les jeunes filles du Rochefort)

DEMY MONDE: The Cinema of Jacques Demy

Fri. Dec 27, 6:30pm; Tue. Dec 31, 2:15pm; Wed. Jan 1, 8:30pm

France, 1967, Blu-ray, 120 min.

DIRECTOR: Jacques Demy
CAST: Catherine Deneuve, Francois Dorleac, Gene Kelly, George Chakiris, Danielle Darrieux

French with English subtitles

Classification: PG

Related links: Trailer | Clip | BUY TICKETS | Holiday Pass Accepted

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Masterpiece. My favourite musical."— Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Shot in a seaside town transfigured into a Demy dream world with white and pastel buildings and a charming square (40,000 square metres of Rochefort’s facades had to be repainted to achieve the colour scheme), The Young Girls of Rochefort stars Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac (Deneuve’s real-life sister, who died in a car accident shortly after the completion of shooting) as musically inclined twin sisters Delphine and Solange, whose mother Yvonne (Danielle Darrieux) pines for the memory of her former fiancé, the unfortunately named Simon Dame (Michel Piccoli). The three women, and the men who desire them, cross paths, fail to connect, misunderstand and misconstrue each other, but in the triumphant finale, as in a Handel opera, discover that love is indeed attainable.

Demy’s exuberant tribute to Hollywood musicals fills the widescreen frame with sisters in matching Boeing-sized bonnets, lovesick sailors in butt-hugging bell-bottoms, songs both gay and grisly (one about an axe murder), a dinner party in which the conversation flows in a ceaseless stream of Alexandrines, and Gene Kelly suavely embodying An American in Rochefort (he supplied his own wonderful choreography). Lush, lovely, light-hearted, afloat on a cloud of tulle and rue, The Young Girls of Rochefort is its own Easter parade. “I wanted to make a film where the prevailing sentiment was joyous,” Demy said. “One where the audience left the cinema feeling less gloomy than when they went in.”

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Nothing rivals the musical in its ability to externalise emotions like love, longing and ecstatic joie de vivre… for Demy’s lovers, there really is heaven on earth." — Geoff Andrew, Defining Moments in Movies

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The movie equivalent of finest vintage Champagne." — Trevor Johnston, 1000 Films to Change Your Life


Une chambre en ville

UNE CHAMBRE EN VILLE

DEMY MONDE: The Cinema of Jacques Demy

Sat. Dec 28, 2:15pm; Mon. Dec 30, 6:30pm

France, 1982, DCP, 90 min.

DIRECTOR: Jacques Demy
CAST: Dominique Sanda, Richard Berry, Danielle Darrieux, Michel Piccoli, Fabienne Guyon

French with English subtitles

Related links: Trailer | Music | Review | BUY TICKETS | Holiday Pass Accepted

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A masterly effort to understand what is profound, what lies beneath, life’s melody." — Armond White, New York Film Critics Choice

Nominated for 9 Cesar awards

During a workers’ strike in Nantes in 1955, steel worker François Guilbaud rents a room from a sympathetic widow. He has a pregnant girlfriend but falls out of love with her when he meets Edith Leroyer, a beautiful, working class girl who is unhappily married to a rich but impotent and neurotic merchant. Edith likes to walk around town naked with only a fur coat on, as a tarot card reader told her she would find love with a passing sailor. Every line of dialogue is sung

“Jacques Demy’s highly personal aesthetic coincided with public taste exactly once, on the 1963 The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which became an international success. But later audiences never quite accepted Demy’s conception of a musical cinema, which combines location shooting, naturalistic narratives, and psychologically complex characters with the high stylization of sung dialogue. When released in France in 1982, A Room in Town died at the box office, yet it is one of the most beautiful, assured, and cinematically inventive films of its period, a stylistic tour-de-force that doesn’t distort and destroy the real (as did Diva) but inflects and accentuates it, that brings out the lyricism, nobility, and tragedy inherent in ordinary situations. […]

The epic, social background provides a counterpoint (literally, because the strike, too, is carried on in song), to the intimate domestic tragedy of the foreground, where the same broad issue (the relationship of workers and bourgeoisie) is replayed. But the simple material is not played simplistically: though Demy offers melodramatic figures of good (the innocent girl friend) and evil (Sanda’s husband, the cruel owner of a small electronics shop, played with operatic fury by Michel Piccoli), the emotional center of the film is an apparently marginal figure, the landlady, magnificently incarnated by Danielle Darrieux, who must witness the conflict, divided between her affection for Berry and her love for her daughter, between the romantic fulfillment that Berry promises and the financial security provided by Piccoli.

All of the expressive tensions of Demy’s cinema are focused on her: a sober acceptance of reality undermined by a yearning for the absolute, an epiphaic romanticism in tragic collision with incontrovertible facts.” Jonathan Rosenbaum

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This unheralded latter-day masterpiece has been infuriatingly hard to see since its fleeting theatrical release in France. [Michel Colombier] contributes a wall to wall score often staggering in its intensity and romantic longing." — Mondo Digital

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Une chambre en ville is unquestionably a daring experiment in cinematic form, and possibly the most honest and revealing of all Demy’s films." — Jamie Travers, French Film Guide


Model Shop

MODEL SHOP

DEMY MONDE: The Cinema of Jacques Demy

Sat. Dec 28, 6:30pm

USA, 1969, DCP, 95 min.

DIRECTOR: Jacques Demy
CAST: Anouk Aimee, Gary Lockwood, Alexandra Hay

English

Related links: Trailer | BUY TICKETS | Holiday Pass Accepted

Demy’s first (and only) Hollywood movie looks better every time you check back in with it. Model Shop spans a twenty-four-hour period in the life of George Matthews (Gary Lockwood, just off of 2001: A Space Odyssey), a moody young man of middle-class privilege in Los Angeles. He’s quit his secure but unrewarding architecture job and fallen into an aimless existence with his dissatisfied, wannabe model girlfriend Gloria (Alexandra Hay), when creditors come calling for his cherished vintage MG. In a seemingly listless attempt to stave off this eventuality, George wanders in his car in search of $100 to pay off its re-possessors, but along the way he catches sight of a pensive yet elegant Frenchwoman in a car dealer’s parking lot and decides to follow her. It turns out to be Lola (Anouk Aimée), the recently-divorced title heroine of Demy’s 1961 feature debut, now working in a “model shop” where men can photograph women in private sessions in a variety of intimate backdrops, with an implied liaison afterwards. She’s trying to make enough money to return to France to her daughter. In other words, it’s Lola in LA.

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A marvel of tone and decor…forges the impossible bridge between Quentin Tarantino’s in-jokey cinematic universe of intertwined characters and events, and the recently-completed Before trilogy of Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke." — Next Projection

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One of the great movies about LA." — Geoff Andrew, Time Out Film Guide


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The Holiday Pass is valid for ALL films screening December 21, 2013 - January 2, 2014.

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