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Jacquot De Nantes [DVD]
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It's the story of a child and his obsession of pursuing his dream to become a film-maker. How he buys his first camera, shoots his first amateur film, which marks the beginning of one of the most prestigious careers of any French director, Jacques Demy. The story is told with emotion by Agnes Varda, who shared his life for years.
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Jacques Demy, France's noted film director, gets a beautiful send-off in this bio-pic/documentary done during and after his cancer treatment and death, by his filmmaker wife. It's not especially deep, but it is very charming, interspersing the young Jacques and his adventures with scenes from his later films that are reminiscent of his experiences and of the old Jacques being shot and interviewed.
The shooting style is a little strange, the family life is in black & white, but the theme of the film is Jacquot's love of any kind of performance and whenever anything directly related to this appears the films switches to color. At least I think that is what she was doing. More than once the film is switching back and forth between a colorized performance and a black & white Jacquot watching the performance. This might have had the desired effect if the movie was only showing Jacquot's childhood, however with the inter cutting of some clips from his movies which are mostly in color, but some in black & white, plus the clips of him in his fifties which are all in color, the transitions between black & white and color create more confusion than clarity.
I should note here that the clips from his movies show how he directly used his childhood experiences in making his movies later in life. In some places Anges' reenactment of the young Jacquot is immediately followed by a clip which is almost exactly the same but with different actors. At other times the clip from his movie is not quite as close to Anges' reenactment of his childhood, but is clearly based on the same childhood experience.
I enjoyed the movie, but must admit I was a little lost during the early part of the movie. However after getting into the rhythm of the movie I liked it and after finishing the movie I went back and watched first couple of chapters again.
A couple of other noteworthy things:
The movie summery on the back of the DVD case is in what I believe to be Korean. This is not really a problem since I can read the movie summery online. Since Amazon.com sometimes posts reviews on more than one release of a movie I should add that I purchased ASIN: B0077667BQ; Region: all regions; Subtitles: English, Korean.
The second noteworthy thing is that the movie does contain a small amount of nudity. The opening of the movie shows a painting of a couple lying nude on a beach, I suspect that this is a painting by Jacquot. Later in the film is what I assume to be Jacquot's first sexual experience being played out. Around the age of thirteen he and Ren take a refugee girl up to the attic where each boy takes his turn as lookout while the other boy spends time with the girl. The camera shows the boy acting as lookout while we hear the girl giggling off camera. The girl is seen topless , Ren is seen in his underwear, and Jacquot is seen both in his underwear and fully nude (mostly from the rear, only very briefly from the front). None of the three show any sign of starting puberty.