Bonjour mes amis!
In an effort to make myself do well in french class, I've taken upon watching french films. Which in turn has led me to not completing all of my french homework. I'm trying.
Today's Film Muse is 1967's Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort) directed by Jacques Demy. If you are a fan of the French New Wave, or directors like Godard and Truffaut, you're going to see a lot of familiar faces in this film. In particular, Catherine Deneuve (blonde twin) who worked with Roman Polanski in Repulsion a couple years before. Basically, this film is a awesome starting place to get into the French New Wave as well as 60's cinema for all you film buffs out there.
This musical centers around two dreamy twins, Delphine and Solange Garnier. They don't really exhibit any flaws - as in - they are perfect. Solange can play any instrument she picks up and Delphine teaches dance classes in their apartment. It seems like everyone in this film, including the twins, are looking for their ideal lover. Their soulmate. How ROMANTIC! Maxence, a overly fetishized french military boy/painter (hot), sings AND dances while talking about his "feminine ideal", just to give you a taste of the passion to come. To be honest, this movie is so cliché it will make you want to barf at times. The inner feminist in me cringes at the misogyny and trope characters, but hey! Who says a girl can't like problematic media?
Can we just talk about this design of this film for a second? Or the 1960's in general? The pastels. The pink shutters. The perfectly groomed hair (wigs?). The geometry. The matching dress/tights/shoes. The painted buildings. Everything. I could go on and on.
I know I've talked about how pining over the glamorized past ('90s nostalgia video) is pretty harmful, but I can't help but wish I lived in the 60's right now. At least, aesthetically. I wish America was still overly superficial, still enjoyed and celebrated art, and still at least warmed up to gender fluidity (shout out to the male dancers in this film). I mean, this movie is in France, but the U.S. was pretty rad back in the day too.
Every shot in this film has a purpose. Every prop has a purpose. You can tell that the people who were the set and costume designers LOVED this film so much. You can really see how much work they put into it. It just makes me happy, but also a bit sad.
One of my favorite outfit combos in the film happens to be worn by a couple secondary characters. These punk rock dancers decide to leave their asshole partners (hell yeah) a couple days before their performance . The matching shirts immediately caught my eye. Silver and gold? Glittery? Neck scarves ? Beautiful.
And their pants! Vintage 60's disco pants, I die. Metallic silver and gold AGAIN. Matchy-matchy. Ugh. So into it. I apologize for not writing in complete sentences but I literally cannot get past this look. In conjunction with their amazingly perfect hair-dos and makeup looks, these killer babes finally say au revoir to their counterparts, but of course not without a dance sequence first.
Like a mentioned earlier (in a fragmented manner), I loved the set design of this film as well. In particular, there was a shot where Delphine's dress matched the building she was walking by. Can that be a thing? Matching your clothes to building colors? They even painted the fire hydrant pink when Delphine crashes into a mystery man (in a pastel purple suit, mind you).
Overall, this film is pretty happy-go-lucky. There aren't any painful scenes. You can expect a song every 10 minutes minimum. I know that doesn't sound like many people's cup of tea, but if anything, you should watch this film to remember what 60's pop art/ French New Wave cinema used to be. Remember it and respect it for what it was, and what we have lost. I found myself wondering where all of these beautiful clothes went. In some storage closet? A charity shop? A landfill? R.I.P. excessive and beautiful living.
Well, that about does it for my Film Muse. I hope you all enjoyed this random pick. If you know of any great french films you think I should check out, leave them in the comments down below. With that, I will leave you with one of my favorite scenes of Les Demoiselles de Rochefort. Have a good one!