Poll

What's your favorite film by Jacques Demy?

Lola
3 (10.3%)
Bay of Angels
0 (0%)
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
7 (24.1%)
The Young Girls of Rochefort
7 (24.1%)
Model Shop
0 (0%)
Donkey Skin
1 (3.4%)
The Pied Piper
0 (0%)
A Slightly Pregnant Man
0 (0%)
Lady Oscar
0 (0%)
Une chambre en ville
1 (3.4%)
Three Places for the 26th
0 (0%)
haven't seen any
8 (27.6%)
don't like any
2 (6.9%)
other
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 28

Author Topic: Demy, Jacques  (Read 3577 times)

FarfetchFilm

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Re: Demy, Jacques - Director's Best Poll
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2010, 02:11:06 PM »
when r u gonna see Donkey Skin FCM? RMIT have all ALL of Demy's films at their library, or u gonna wait till ACMI show it in Feb...

FifthCityMuse

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Re: Demy, Jacques - Director's Best Poll
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2010, 06:01:04 AM »
when r u gonna see Donkey Skin FCM? RMIT have all ALL of Demy's films at their library, or u gonna wait till ACMI show it in Feb...
Yeah, might make the effort to see it at ACMI, along with the Breillat fairytales. Not been watching a whole lot lately, it's been a crazy month.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Demy, Jacques - Director's Best Poll
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2014, 08:00:40 AM »
So Donkey Skin is now the film I need to see the most after seeing this clip:


MartinTeller

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Re: Demy, Jacques - Director's Best Poll
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2014, 10:41:47 AM »
That's the best scene in the movie, but it's definitely worth seeing.  Charmingly bizarre.
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don s.

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Re: Demy, Jacques - Director's Best Poll
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2014, 12:35:41 PM »
After a discussion of "Model Shop" on Facebook followed by, coincidentally, a scene in a "Mad Men" episode that shows Don Draper watching it in a theater, I got curious and ordered the $6 DVD on Amazon. I think I understand why it's ranked at the bottom of Martin's list, above, but I found a lot to like in it, mostly of an archival nature (e.g., wonderful glimpses of L.A. in the '60s and a weird cameo by the band Spirit). So far, it's the only Demy that I've seen, but I'm eagerly awaiting the upcoming Criterion set.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Demy, Jacques - Director's Best Poll
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2014, 10:23:50 PM »
just watched the shorts in Criterion's new Demy collection...


Les horizons morts is Demy's 1951 debut, a wordless 8-minute short about a young man (Demy himself, in a rare onscreen appearance) suffering a long dark night of the soul, tormented over a lost love.  While the film isn't going to make you sit up and take notice, it's pretty accomplished for a director just out of his teens.  There's an unusual "melting" effect when the story goes into flashback, an effect I don't think I've seen before.  The experimental use of sound doesn't really work, but the music choices are solid.  A notch above your average student production.  Rating: Good (73)

Le sabotier du Val de Loire is a documentary of a week in the life of an elderly cobbler of wooden clogs living in the Loire valley with his wife and son.  It appears to be a slightly manufactured documentary, with some sequences and images that look rather staged... perhaps not as staged as Nanook of the North, but I can't help thinking Demy did some posing of the participants.  Nonetheless, it's artfully done, although much more of a downer than one expects from Demy.  The film is not especially concerned with the clogmaker's craft and is more of a meditation on impending death and past regrets.  I didn't really "enjoy" it, but it's done well enough (there are a couple of gorgeous shots, too).  Rating: Good (72)

Ars tells the story of Jean-Marie Vianney, the 19th century pastor in the village of Ars.  Vianney practiced a very strict form of religion, including self-flagellation.  He was harsh with his parishioners, calling them out on their disinterest in the church and scolding them for participating in cabarets and dancing.  They rebelled against him, but his pious dedication won them over and they flocked to his confessional until his death.  He was later venerated.  The story is mildly interesting, and features some fine camerawork, but I didn't care all that much.  I couldn't tell if Demy wanted to make this film because he admired Vianney or just because he thought his life was compelling, but I just thought he was a pretty run-of-the-mill religious nutball.  I would liked some background information on how he got to be that way.  Rating: Fair (64)

La luxure, Demy's contribution to the omnibus film The Seven Deadly Sins (which includes pieces by Godard and Chabrol), is only short in this collection that feels like proper Demy.  His segment concerns the sin of lechery.  Happy-go-lucky Jacques (Laurent Terzieff, reportedly playing a younger version of the director himself) bumps into his friend Bernard (Jean-Louis Trintignant).  The two go into a café and look over a book of Hieronymus Bosch, which prompts Bernard to relate the story of being a young boy preparing for his communion exam and conflating "lechery" and "luxury".  The short is playful and witty with a lot of clever wordplay.  Demy's sense of fantasy comes across with a fantastic vision of Hell, featuring men trying to eat flaming plates of food and women being burned by their furs and jewels.  With a graceful camera and a lively Legrand score, this little gem should satisfy any Demy fan.  Rating: Very Good (82)
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MartinTeller

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Re: Demy, Jacques - Director's Best Poll
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2014, 08:00:38 PM »

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (rewatch) - It's been over a decade since I last saw this movie, my initiation to the work of Jacques Demy.  At the time, I was pretty dismissive of it, calling it "a lame story with a quirky gimmick".  I had hopes this revisit would make the movie click with me.  After all,  I'm supposed to adore it.  It's by far Demy's most beloved and famous film.  It ranks #164 on TSPDT's comprehensive list of the greatest films (Demy's highest placement on that list).  It won the Palme d'Or.  It has the highest rating on IMDb.  I skimmed a couple of dozen other reviews, and they were all positive... in fact, all but one were gushingly positive.  Surely with ten additional years of intense movie-watching -- including a great appreciation of many other Demy films -- under my belt, the charms of this movie would reveal themselves to me.

Alas, no.  The caveat I feel inclined to give for this review is: "for me".  I cannot deny the love that others feel for it, I can only say it does not work for me.  And it largely because the central conceit of the film doesn't work for me.  I understand that it is an unconventional musical, and should not be viewed in the same way you'd view Singin' in the Rain.  There is no dance, no big production numbers.  Although the main theme is memorable, most of the tunes are shapeless ditties... lovely, but shapeless.  And that's just the music... the "lyrics" themselves are simply sung dialogue.  Any rhyme is purely coincidental.  There are no refrains, no bridges, no structure.  Almost every line sounds like it's dangling at the end, waiting in vain for the phrase to be resolved.

Many of the reviews I glanced at said that after a little while, you don't even notice they're singing.  How I wish that were true for me.  I found it endlessly distracting.  While I appreciate the juxtaposition of the lilting music against the bittersweet story, the singing was like a fly I couldn't shake off.  I couldn't find it charming or moving because I always felt this chasm between myself and the characters.  What can you do when the very thing that makes the movie unique is something that annoys you?

I do love the vibrant visuals.  Such a candyland world of eye-popping colors... and a nice little touch when Geneviève and Guy "walk" down the street on a dolly track.  It is undeniably a gorgeous film.  And I must retract the term "lame story"... there is something insightful to its look at romance as an often ephemeral thing, not an idealized fantasy, but a force that has needs or it will wither and fade.  There is a beautiful, tragic melancholy to the line: "I would have died for him... why am I not dead?"  And it's a minor thing, but the intervening years since my last viewing have enabled me to understand and appreciate the reference to Lola (which, as of this writing, is currently my favorite by Demy).

Movies are not universal experiences, but I always feel a little guilty -- and a little dense -- when a much-heralded "classic" leaves me cold (perhaps in this case, "lukewarm" fits better).  In the end, I'm the one who's missing out.  But for me, this film doesn't work.  It is an admirable experiment (with points for a high degree of difficulty) and I would say that thematically, it's more successful than I initially gave it credit for.  I just don't enjoy watching it very much.  Rating: Fair (66)
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Junior

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Re: Demy, Jacques - Director's Best Poll
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2014, 08:24:09 PM »
Hmm. An interesting response. I would have pegged you for loving this (your purchase of the Criterion set probably helped that). I hear your complaints, and it took me a bit to get into the just singing dialogue thing. Still, those colors and especially that last scene had me falling in love. Catherine Deneuve has been great in the three movies of hers that I've seen (this, Repulsion, and Dancer in the Dark). I hope you keep going through this set, I'm very likely going to pick it up next sale.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Demy, Jacques - Director's Best Poll
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2014, 10:38:19 PM »
Deneuve is always great (I'm sure ses would agree).  And yes, more Demy reviews are forthcoming....
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Re: Demy, Jacques - Director's Best Poll
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2014, 10:41:24 PM »
Many of the reviews I glanced at said that after a little while, you don't even notice they're singing.  How I wish that were true for me.  I found it endlessly distracting.  While I appreciate the juxtaposition of the lilting music against the bittersweet story, the singing was like a fly I couldn't shake off.  I couldn't find it charming or moving because I always felt this chasm between myself and the characters.  What can you do when the very thing that makes the movie unique is something that annoys you?
That was my reaction too. How can you not notice they're singing? The dialogue is in some weird middle ground - not spoken but not songs - that I never got past.


Movies are not universal experiences, but I always feel a little guilty -- and a little dense -- when a much-heralded "classic" leaves me cold (perhaps in this case, "lukewarm" fits better).  In the end, I'm the one who's missing out.  But for me, this film doesn't work.  It is an admirable experiment (with points for a high degree of difficulty) and I would say that thematically, it's more successful than I initially gave it credit for.  I just don't enjoy watching it very much.
This is a paragraph I think all of us can apply to a handful of film we've sat through. It's a shared thought, expressed clearly enough to hang in a Hall of Fame thread of Filmspotting all-purpose, go-to, pre-written opinions. Well Said.
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