Les Demoiselles Des Rochefort (Demy, 1967): Cine Lumiere, 2pm
Chicago Reader review:
In choosing Jacques Demy's greatest feature, one might argue strongly for Lola (1960), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), or the lesser-known Une Chambre en Ville
(1982). But Demy's most ambitious film and the one I cherish the most
is this 1967 big-budget musical shot exclusively on location, a tale of
various dreamers searching for and usually missing their ideal mates,
who are usually only blocks away. The score is Michel Legrand's finest,
with various jazz elements, lyrics in alexandrines by Demy, and
intricately structured reprises that match the poetic, crisscrossing
plot. Demy pays tribute to the American musical yet mixes in
accoutrements of French poetic realism: dreams and reality coexist more
strangely and stubbornly than in most other musicals. The results may be
quintessentially French, but the energy and optimism are clearly
inspired by America, and Gene Kelly's appearances are sublime.
Here is an extract.