Peau d'ane/Donkey Skin

Bitter/Sweet: The Films of Jacques Demy at the Cinematheque


Love, music and that certain je ne sais quoi is in the air this month, as the Cinematheque Ontario unveils a retrospective of the French New Wave director Jacques Demy.

Demy was director of films that pushed the boundaries of sound and mise-en-scene, beginning with his musical without music, Lola , the musical Les Demoiselles de Rochefort and his colourful film where every line of dialogue is sung (the ultimate musical), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

I've pondered the decision to name the retrospective "Bitter/Sweet" since I started writing this post. The retrospective page explains this choice of words as a way to suggest how Demy was overlooked as an influential director due to his style. Some would come to mistake the elegance and opulence in his films for frivolity and his character's flair as coverings for empty personages, misreading the films entirely.

Demy, with his stylistic eye, would often create cinematic worlds all of their own, worlds just beyond our reality. While he usually removed his films from delivering political messages, his characters were often grounded in reality where politics (social and governing) and history would affect them. To put it plainly, he was one of the more visual directors of the French New Wave period, more of a Truffaut than a Godard..

Bitter/Sweet begins tonight, Friday February 15th with Demy's short film Lust followed by his first feature film Lola and continues through to the final screening of Le Naissance de Jour on Sunday March 16th.

Due to high demand, the Cinematheque has added a second screening of Lola for March 2nd.

Image of Peau d'ane/The Donkey Skin from Allocine.fr


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