(Read the synopsis of the film above)
Having never seen a Jacque Demy film before, or a French Musical, I had no idea what to expect, and bought this after seeing an interview with Catherine Deneuve on UK TV, where the presenter, Jonathan Ross, gave it glowing reviews. It certainly is a beautiful film, the use of colour is stunning, the direction beautiful, and brilliantly performed by all the actors. As for the music, the film is sung from start to finish, not a single spoken word, and it works well, the actors lip synching perfect. The film is in 3 specific sections; (I don’t want to give too much away) the before, the absence and the return, and what I particularly liked about this film, is that it may be a musical, but it still has a powerful emotional punch, not a light ‘Hollywood’ theme. This isn’t ‘Grease’, this is more ‘Evita’ in that it is a film dealing with serious issues; unwanted pregnancy, parental pressure, death, war and more. The final scene was perfectly realised, and brought a tear to my eye.
The extras: Knowing nothing about Jacque Demy, the 90 documentary on his life and films is fascinating, and an excellent introduction into how he works and his love of film. It was great to see rare footage of Jim Morrison and a pre-fame Harrison Ford pop up, amongst many stars (Catherine Deneuve for starters) lending their thoughts about this great filmmaker. Not only that, it has encouraged me to see more of his films, especially the musical ‘Donkey Skin’ which sounds and looks magical. There is also a beautiful short film (not directed by Demy) with music by Legrand (who did the music for Umbrellas and most of his other musicals) that is an interesting watch.
One of the comments below discusses the quality of this release – it was perfect as far as I could see, excellent sound and picture, however, I haven’t seen the other versions so I can’t comment.