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Monday, February 20, 2012

La Baie Des Anges (aka Bay Of Angels) (1963)

A young bank employee (Claude Mann) goes with a co-worker (Paul Guers) to a casino where he gambles for the first time. Seized by the gambling fever, he spends his vacation at the casinos in Nice where he encounters a gambling addict (Jeanne Moreau) and enters her world of living life on the edge and a spin of the roulette wheel. This fascinating portrait of the lure of the gambler's life where chance and obsession walk a perilous tightrope is fortunate to have Jacques Demy at the helm and even more fortunate to have Jeanne Moreau in the central role. Platinum blonde, chain smoking, garbed by Pierre Cardin, she's never been more compelling and we fall in love with her as immediately as Claude Mann does. The way she haunts the gambling tables and casinos, like a drug addict looking for a fix, we begin to understand the intensity of the gambler's fervor and Demy swathes her in a careless elegance. The one note score is by Michel Legrand and the crisp sun washed black and white cinematography by Jean Rabier (THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG).

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