Another of Jacques Demy’s unusual projects, this was a film that was utterly misunderstood in its day and marked by the picturesque aesthetic of the period that it was shot in: a fresh homage to Jean Cocteau that took the form of an updating of the myth of Orpheus set in the world of 1980s rock. In one of his last performances for cinema, the legendary Jean Marais (who played Orpheus for Cocteau) now plays Hades, the King of the underworld. –Festival de San Sebastián
Born in 1931 in the seaport city of Nantes, Jacques Demy experienced a happy childhood. The son of an auto mechanic, Demy’s love for cinema inspired him to make home movies in 8mm. He would work as an apprentice to animator Paul Grimault and later as assistant to film-maker Georges Rouquier before starting his own career by directing a series of shorts. Le bel indifférent (1957) was an adaptation of a play by Jean Cocteau, notable for marking the start of his lifelong collaboration with art director Bernard Evein. The film’s use of color and sophistication of technique gained favorable notice from Jean-Luc Godard in the pages of Cahiers du Cinéma; the magazine that served as the organ of the French New Wave. Demy would share with the New Wave a love for American genre films, specifically the musicals of Vincente Minnelli and Stanley Donen. Another important influence was the films of Max Ophüls, to whom he would dedicate his first feature Lola.
Made in 1961, Lola’s playful approach… read more