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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Les Demoiselles De Rochefort (aka Young Girls Of Rochefort) (1967)

In the small seaside town of Rochefort, a carnival comes to town for the weekend. The carnival serves as a background for various characters who are destined to be together but haven't met yet as their paths criss cross but always missing each other. Two sisters, a dancer (Catherine Deneuve) and a composer (Francoise Dorleac, who would be killed shortly in an auto crash after the filming), their mother (Danielle Darrieux), a lovesick sailor (Jacques Perrin), a music store owner (Michel Piccoli), two carnies (George Chakiris, Grover Dale) and a visiting American (Gene Kelly). This candy colored musical courtesy of Jacques Demy (LES PARAPLUIES DE CHERBOURG) is a loving homage to the MGM musicals of the 40s and 50s. Demy has shot the film in creamy pastels, hot pinks, oranges, lavender and turquoise and people walking down the street suddenly twirl and do leaps! While film lacks the verve and wit of the great MGM musicals like SINGIN' IN THE RAIN or THE BAND WAGON, Demy clearly has a genuine affection for the genre and those films that one would be churlish to nitpick. Besides, there's much to admire and at times, the film is downright exhilarating! With the exception of Darrieux, all the actors' singing is dubbed. The lively choreography is by Norman Maens and bouncy, jazzy score and songs by the great Michel Legrand.

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