Jacques Demy on DVD

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tojoed
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#26 Post by tojoed » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:56 am

Jack Phillips wrote:
Michael wrote:
You neglect to mention its best feature, Michel Legrand's songs.
I'm embarrassed to say I can't single out any one of the songs.
Then go to amazon at once and buy the soundtrack CD. You not only get all the material from the movie, there's also a bonus disc that includes instrumental versions, one of which is an amazing rendition of "Chanson de Maxence" by Phil Woods.
Also available is "The Cinema de Michel Legrand - Nouvelle Vague", which has tracks from "Lola" and "Bay of Angels". Also, a little off topic, the full theme and 12 variations he wrote for "Vivre sa Vie", of which Godard used only the first eight bars.

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Michael
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#27 Post by Michael » Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:08 am

Just finished watching Demy's musicals - Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort - back to back. I've always loved Cherbourg for not only its very beautiful lovers but for its sweet snowy melancholy and emotional complexity. It's tight and precise. While Young Girls is the opposite, it's silly, loose, rambling, repetitive. And way too long. I don't know why but I ached for Gene Kelly - Dorleac so embrassingly awkward dancing in his arms. That made me long for the luminosity of Astaire and Charisse.

All that brings me to question this: some of you find Young Girls to be superior to Umbrellas or even Demy's best film. I'm immeasurably perplexed by that. Please explain why.

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domino harvey
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#28 Post by domino harvey » Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:31 pm

Michael wrote:All that brings me to question this: some of you find Young Girls to be superior to Umbrellas or even Demy's best film. I'm immeasurably perplexed by that. Please explain why.
Because it's one of the most joyous, superbly realized crystallizations of everything that makes a musical great-- it is unquestionably Demy's best film, and one of the greatest musicals of all time. I like Umbrellas just fine but nearly everything that could be said in favor of that film is done much better here. Repetitive?!? The repeated refrains and musical elements helps to cement the film as one piece, and lulls you into the rhythms of Demy's vision. Silly? How so? The film seems light but that's deceiving-- it takes a true master to make a film this complicated and intricate seem breezy. Too long? I wish it was twice as long.

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MichaelB
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#29 Post by MichaelB » Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:37 pm

domino harvey wrote:Because it's one of the most joyous, superbly realized crystallizations of everything that makes a musical great-- it is unquestionably Demy's best film, and one of the greatest musicals of all time. I like Umbrellas just fine but nearly everything that could be said in favor of that film is done much better here. Repetitive?!? The repeated refrains and musical elements helps to cement the film as one piece, and lulls you into the rhythms of Demy's vision. Silly? How so? The film seems light but that's deceiving-- it takes a true master to make a film this complicated and intricate seem breezy. Too long? I wish it was twice as long.
Don't tell kevyip1, but my copy's still shrink-wrapped, and I bought it in 2001!

(But I will get round to watching it soon - especially after that breathless eulogy)

Jack Phillips
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#30 Post by Jack Phillips » Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:59 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Michael wrote:All that brings me to question this: some of you find Young Girls to be superior to Umbrellas or even Demy's best film. I'm immeasurably perplexed by that. Please explain why.
Because it's one of the most joyous, superbly realized crystallizations of everything that makes a musical great-- it is unquestionably Demy's best film, and one of the greatest musicals of all time. I like Umbrellas just fine but nearly everything that could be said in favor of that film is done much better here. Repetitive?!? The repeated refrains and musical elements helps to cement the film as one piece, and lulls you into the rhythms of Demy's vision. Silly? How so? The film seems light but that's deceiving-- it takes a true master to make a film this complicated and intricate seem breezy. Too long? I wish it was twice as long.
Hear, hear.

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david hare
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#31 Post by david hare » Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:16 pm

Micahel, Demy's first four films are the a whole universe of their own - Lola, La Baie des Anges, and the two musicals. So is his episode - La Luxure - in the Omnibus film Les Sept Peches Capitaux (characteristic of the innocent charm of this one of the characters orders a coffee and has the little pun "Un demi, s'il vous plait.") The Chabrol ("L'Avarcie") and Godard ("La Paresse") eps are also wondeful, if not the Molinaro and the Ionesco.

You are herewith ordered to unwrap Parapluies and put it on under pain of forfeiting it to that idiot on the other thread.

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MichaelB
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#32 Post by MichaelB » Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:19 pm

davidhare wrote:Micahel, Demy's first four films are the a whole universe of their own - Lola, La Baie des Anges, and the two musicals. So is his episode - La Luxure - in the Omnibus film Les Sept Peches Capitaux (characteristic of the innocent charm of this one of the characters orders a coffee and has the little pun "Un demi, s'il vous plait.") The Chabrol ("L'Avarcie") and Godard ("La Paresse") eps are also wondeful, if not the Molinaro and the Ionesco.

You are herewith ordered to unwrap Parapluies and put it on under pain of forfeiting it to that idiot on the other thread.
Actually, I've seen Parapluies many times, and Lola and La Baie des Anges more than once (and all three on the big screen) - it's Les Demoiselles de Rochefort that I've somehow managed to ignore so far.

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domino harvey
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#33 Post by domino harvey » Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:24 pm

davidhare wrote: So is his episode - La Luxure - in the Omnibus film Les Sept Peches Capitaux (characteristic of the innocent charm of this one of the characters orders a coffee and has the little pun "Un demi, s'il vous plait.") The Chabrol ("L'Avarcie") and Godard ("La Paresse") eps are also wondeful, if not the Molinaro and the Ionesco.
I made a thread about this a couple years ago that no one posted in, where were you!?! But I agree with the first three segments you mention, but the rest is forgettable and the Ionesco-scripted one is HORRIBLE.

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david hare
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#34 Post by david hare » Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:48 pm

I missed it. The Ionesco was appalling - I have never been able to read his plays again since. In fact that whole Theatre of the Absurd movement now strikes me as a gigantic yawn including Beckett. Not a patch on the great "surrealists" Alfred Jarry or Appollinaire of course.

Sorry Michael - same instruction applies. (You've only got Deneuve and Dorleac to look forward to. And Piccolo as a melancholy, timid shopkeeper. And Gene. And George Chakiris!!! And the whole of Rochefort in Technicolor! (as reconstrcuted in vivid Eastman.)

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Dylan
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#35 Post by Dylan » Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:15 pm

To me, Young Girls of Rochefort feels completely different than Cherbourg (or any other Demy I've seen) in just about every way, so I won't offer comparisons, but I don't think it's a great film. I loved the dancing, and it certainly looks gorgeous (Ghislain Cloquet seriously hits it out of the park here), and I'm a tremendous advocate of Michel Legrand so I like the music quite a lot (and I own the soundtrack...I wouldn't place it among his very best work, though), but I also thought it was at least 30 minutes too long, and although I was constantly amused and dazzled I was never very engaged. It's good, but not as good as other Demy, and certainly not in the same league as Cherbourg (my favorite musical by a galaxy, Legrand's melodies being some of the finest of the last fifty years).

Meanwhile, I'm absolutely dying to see Model Shop. I hope the DVD release is underway as we speak.

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Via_Chicago
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#36 Post by Via_Chicago » Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:19 pm

Dylan wrote:Meanwhile, I'm absolutely dying to see Model Shop. I hope the DVD release is underway as we speak.
I can't reinforce how utterly banal Model Shop is. It truly is one of the worst movies I've seen in some time. Lockwood and Anouk are both totally vapid, lifeless, and generally boring. The only redeeming aspect of the film were the Los Angeles street shots, but I'd already seen that footage highlighted in Anderson's Los Angeles Plays Itself, so there was literally nothing here. For Demy completists only.

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david hare
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#37 Post by david hare » Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:07 pm

Im afraid a friend in NYC also basically takes the same view - certainly about Lockwood and Anouk (although Gary wears very tight jeans and had a sublime ass which maybe meant something more to me back in 1975 or whenever it was.)

I remember feeling I needed to care for it like a lost oprhan because it played exactly one week at a cavernous theatre next to a windswept part of Sydney Harbor (the Rose Bay Wintergarden - now torn down to be replaced by windswept 4 to 6 million dollar apartments which are in danger of sinking into the harbour floor as the sea level inexorably rises with global warming) usually to audiences of two or three. I wonder if - perhaps - I fooled myself into pretending it was better than it was through it's sheer "atmosphere" or post-Nouvelle Vague"ishness.

But even then Anouk made me want to puke. In fact the only movie she doesn't want to make me puke is Lola. When Vicious Nelly Queen Cliff Gorman is running amok in Cukor's Justine while a killer rampages through the ball scene I kept wishing they'd murder Anouk.

You know it's very strange when you get older - I've known two women called Anouk (not biblically) and they were both prize cunts.

Mike I forgot to do this but never too late - surely the big difference between Parapluies and Demoiselles is that the first one is largely studio bound and has the aesthetic of a forties Technicolor Freeed musical, at least by way of hommage. But is then entirely sung.

Demoiselles on the other hand is entirely shot in exteriors, or interiors with natural light - the sheer filming itself is exhilarating spatially - and it's widescreen with dialogue and numbers but it still mainatins the musically dynamic tone.

Some people see fit to argue about some aspects of the choreography (I dont personally) but part of Demy's intention surely is to give it an air of the "freewheeling", while still allowing the sensibility of a very artificically directed narrative to arise.

I think I understand what you mean, but the two movies are entirely different. Another major break of course is that Demy recycles characters and actors from Lola into Demoiselles. So it literally does constitute something of a rounding out to his Universe.

I adore it in any case.

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Lino
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#38 Post by Lino » Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:33 pm

For anyone who's interested, I bought the spanish edition of Lady Oscar because I've been curious about it for a long time. First things first: the image is in its correct AR but is clearly not restored. That is not to say that it looks bad (it doesn't) but a restoration would make it look like a jewel-incrusted necklace. Yes, it's that pretty.

As for the movie itself, well, it's nothing to write home about but it's not the abomination that some people over at the imdb boards would make you believe it is. The central character is interesting enough to hold the movie on its slender shoulders but I missed the music the most. Yes, the score is lovely as ever but there are no songs. Maybe it's silly of me to expect that every Demy movie should have songs but I'm sure I'm not the only one to think this way, right?

Still, it's one movie worthy of reevaluation - and restoration. Which leads me to this pertinent question: why hasn't any major Demy retrospective/restoration of his other movies happened yet? The world needs more of his musicals on DVD, wouldn't you agree? Besides, I want to see his version of Pied Piper now!

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jguitar
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#39 Post by jguitar » Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:55 pm

Lino wrote:For anyone who's interested, I bought the spanish edition of Lady Oscar because I've been curious about it for a long time. First things first: the image is in its correct AR but is clearly not restored. That is not to say that it looks bad (it doesn't) but a restoration would make it look like a jewel-incrusted necklace. Yes, it's that pretty.

As for the movie itself, well, it's nothing to write home about but it's not the abomination that some people over at the imdb boards would make you believe it is. The central character is interesting enough to hold the movie on its slender shoulders but I missed the music the most. Yes, the score is lovely as ever but there are no songs. Maybe it's silly of me to expect that every Demy movie should have songs but I'm sure I'm not the only one to think this way, right?

Still, it's one movie worthy of reevaluation - and restoration. Which leads me to this pertinent question: why hasn't any major Demy retrospective/restoration of his other movies happened yet? The world needs more of his musicals on DVD, wouldn't you agree? Besides, I want to see his version of Pied Piper now!
Fascinating--I wasn't aware that Lady Oscar was available on DVD at all--I've got an nth-generation VHS that some Chilean fan of Berusaiyu no bara sent to me years ago. The DVD has to look better than what I've got. In case anyone is interested, VSOM has (or used to have) a copy of Pied Piper available--it's not bad as far as those things go.

As to the original question about Umbrellas vs. Young Girls--the way I've tended to think about it is that Umbrellas is possibly a better film in the sense that it's so tightly constructed, so economical, and kind of perfect in its way, but that Young Girls is the film I love the most. It's as if Demy was able to distill pure essence of happy into that film. I quite literally cried tears of joy the first time I saw Young Girls--and this despite the hipster doofuses sitting in front of me who howled with derisive laughter throughout the screening at the Music Box in Chicago. But I digress.

By the way, David Bordwell has expressed his love of Young Girls of Rochefort a couple of times. Here, he talks about the old days of the film scene in Madison, which includes this bit:
Members of the Union Film Committee, overseeing the only campus 35mm venue, were passionately debating whether to show Godard, or Jancso, or a John Ford retrospective. I convinced them to show The Young Girls of Rochefort, which hurt my reputation,and Play Time, which I think helped it.
And in another post, he talks about what's on his iPod, filmwise; one thing is Young Girls.

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dadaistnun
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#40 Post by dadaistnun » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:14 pm

Pied Piper had a theatrical reissue last year via Paramount and the Eastman House, so hopefully a dvd will be coming soon. I asked Criterion/Turrell about it & never got a response.

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martin
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#41 Post by martin » Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:45 pm

Re. Cherbourg vs. Rochefort discussed earlier in the thread: I prefer the former. The music is more to my liking, and I like the sentimental mood. Jonathan Rosenbaum gives both a 4-star rating, but prefers Rochefort (nice essays btw!): The Umbrellas of Cherbourg - The Young Girls of Rochefort

Som screencaptures from the R1 and R4 editions of Rochefort were just posted in the capture-thread. The Australian screenshots looks exactly like the French disc often on sale at amazon.fr and other French sites (I can post screen captures if anyone wants them). The French disc has English subs and a nice bonus (although unsubbed): Agnes Varda's documentary Les Demoiselles ont eu 25 ans.

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salad
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#42 Post by salad » Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:08 pm

dadaistnun wrote:Pied Piper had a theatrical reissue last year via Paramount and the Eastman House, so hopefully a dvd will be coming soon. I asked Criterion/Turrell about it & never got a response.
Now available from Legend Films...

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Lino
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#43 Post by Lino » Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:58 pm

Took a little bit of searching but found it! Thanks a lot! And yes, you can order it now!

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Barmy
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#44 Post by Barmy » Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:26 pm

If only amazon was as user-friendly as the legend webstore... :x :wink: :|

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david hare
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#45 Post by david hare » Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:39 pm

After all Barmy's sourpuss routines on Model Shop I finally got a boot of the TV version (cropped and with the watermark) which I've watched in fits and starts since last week - interrupted by such trivia as the deaths of Dassin and Widmark etc.

My, it really is extremely flat. Not only are both Anouk and Lockwood dull to the point of obnoxious, the whole thing just misses out on any sort of intended "tone", as though Demy were merely going for some version of Californian "cool". Really notsogoodatall. Fortunately Peau d'Ane is due in a week or so and I also got a boot of Chambre en Ville from French TV from a certain Petroleum Republic nephew. THIS looks more like it! (No subs however.)

Sorry Dev - memories are NOT made of this.

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Barmy
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#46 Post by Barmy » Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:27 pm

I'm not a sourpuss, just a realist. Demy's later work (including Piper but, if you are drunk, high and retarded, excluding Parking) is, largely, awful.

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J Wilson
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#47 Post by J Wilson » Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:31 pm

Received PIED PIPER from Legend Films, arrived very fast, so kudos to them for quick service. The disc is anamorphic 1.78:1, and looks pretty good, with nice colors. Sound is okay. The film itself is interesting and I liked it, though the vacant space that is Donovan and the character of the Pied Piper is the film's biggest weakness.

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Lino
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#48 Post by Lino » Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:20 pm

Has it got any extras?

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domino harvey
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#49 Post by domino harvey » Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:25 pm

Post caps in this thread plz

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J Wilson
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#50 Post by J Wilson » Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:27 pm

The disc is bare bones. Will get screencaps posted once I can upload them to my server.

Edit: PIED PIPER screencaps below; I have not done any screencaps for literally years, but these were done with VLC on my Mac, for what it's worth.

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