Jacques Demy

“Demy’s fables focus on the transient joys, cruel disappointments and enduring memories of love; chance and coincidence dog the lives of his protagonists, whose pasts and futures are often mirrored by subsidiary characters… No other film-maker has depicted the banal realities of modern life so elegantly, imaginatively or tenderly.” - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)

Jacques Demy

Director / Screenwriter
(1931-1990) Born June 5, Pontchâteau, Loire-Atlantique, France
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Country: France
Key Genres: Drama, Romance, Musical Romance, Musical, Melodrama, Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama, Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Legends
Key Collaborators: Michel Legrand (Composer), Bernard Evein (Production Designer), Anne-Marie Cotret (Editor), Catherine Deneuve (Leading Actress), Mag Bodard (Producer), Anouk Aimée (Leading Actress), Marc Michel (Leading Actor), Jacques Perrin (Leading Actor), Ghislain Cloquet (Cinematographer), Jean Rabier (Cinematographer), Michel Piccoli (Leading Character Actor), Danielle Darrieux (Leading Character Actress)

"A whimsical purveyor of modern fairytales, Jacques Demy was one of the rare French directors to make musicals. Demy was brought up in Nantes (see his widow Agnès Varda's film, Jacquot de Nantes, 1991), where his first film, Lola (1961), was set. Its circular construction, frothiness, and long tracking shots are reminiscent of Max Ophüls, the film's dedicatee" - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)
"It is not so much that Demy doesn't believe in happy endings: he simply doesn't believe in permanent ones (as "life is movement"). The ambivalent, bittersweet "feel" of Demy is perhaps best summed up in the end of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, where the lovers, now both married to others, accidentally meet, implicitly acknowledge their love, and return with acceptance to the relationships to which they are committed." - Robin Wood & Rob Edelman (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"Demy was more of a stage manager than a director, but, as Gilbert and Sullivan would have put it, 'a good one too'. He arranged his characters, his settings, with loving care, then tracked around them with fluid and caressing camera. Demy created fairy-tale worlds in miniature, whether in actual fairytales, like The Pied Piper, or modern fables set to music (mainly by Michel Legrand). Either way, his keying of pastel shades is unique in the cinema. Apart possibly from Franco Zeffirelli, no-one made films as prettily as Demy." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"Perhaps the only non-American to lense quality musicals, Demy guided the touching, innovate Umbrellas of Cherbourg (64), which features singing in place of dialogue and the energetic The Young Girls of Rochefort (68)." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
“A contemporary of the nouvelle vague (he married the first New Wave filmmaker, Agnès Varda, in 1962), Demy shared his generation’s adoration for cinema and leftist politics - but politics rarely encroached on his Utopian fantasies except in the most general sense… Demy cited Bresson, Ophüls, Cocteau and Donen as his influences - and there are echoes of Carné and Prévert too. Cocteau and Donen in particular are inescapable in everything after his first two films: the poetic but constricted Lola (1960) and the atypical Bay of Angels (1962).” - Tom Charity (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) , The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
Recommended
Lola (1961) , Bay of Angels (1963)
Worth a Look
Le Sabotier du Val de Loire (1956), Model Shop (1969), Donkey Skin (1970), The Pied Piper (1972), Une chambre en ville (1982)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Young Girls of Rochefort
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