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4.4 out of 5 stars
28
Les Demoiselles de Rochefort [1967] [DVD]
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 27 September 2016
Les Demoiselles de Rochefort gets off to a leisurely start, and it takes a while to get into it, but once it takes off its exuberance does take hold of the viewer and it becomes a camp delight. Rochefort looks freshly painted as the carnies arrive for the fair and set up on the main square, where the lovely Solange and Delphine teach music and dance respectively. Played by real-life sisters Francoise Dorleac and Catherine Deneuve, they sing and dance their way through a number of scenes with great charm, as do the two carnies, one of whom (George Chakiris) had starred in West Side Story ... At the same time, a story of missed chances, fate, and people meeting or not in a small town is woven into the fabric of the film with much subtlety, being both true to life and artificial. The painter Maxence, who has a superb number early on explaining the girl of his dreams to the assembled characters in a cafe on the square, is amazing as a naif finishing his military service. He has painted this figure who is the very image of Deneuve, but nobody tells him, either for perverse reasons of their own, or because they don't think of it. Meanwhile, the composer Andy Miller, played with his customary debonair ease by Gene Kelly, breezes into town and bumps into Solange to spark one of the most delightful 'love at first sight' moments in any film! Dorleac plays it to the hilt - really she could hardly be camper, as her Concerto in F sharp minor, third movement, falls onto the pavement with crayons and paper and he dashingly helps her to pick it all up, and their hands touch ... The film also stars Michel Piccoli and Danielle Darrieux in a not very convincing subplot, but it adds to the overall jigsaw so who cares? The music, by Michel Legrand, is very suitable, and there are some good tunes that become associated with one or other of the three romantic threads you hope will make the connection ... But the real guiding light behind the project is, of course, Jacques Demy, who pulls off one of his finest films here. The story and music blend beautifully with the colours and dance moves, in what is a priceless period piece. The extras, including a 64-minute documentary shot 25 years later by Agnes Varda, are well worth having, as is the wonderful booklet.
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on 20 June 2016
What a super entertaining musical! Of course we'd all swooned over Catherine Deneuve in Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, but how many of us realised that she'd got an equally talented sister who died in a road accident only months after making this film with her?
Watch this with a large glass of wine and a comfortable sofa - the music is from the same stable as Parapluies ( Michel Legrand) the story is touching, the dancing is fun, the cinematography and setting brilliant. In French with subtitles is just right.
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on 8 January 2014
I bought this as a gift for a Japanese friend who understands English but not French. The subtitles are very good and do justice to the extremely witty/funny/sometimes naughty original lyrics/lines.
As you may know the French don't like musicals much, but they did like this, and still do. It's a perfect combination of great talents on a light mode. It is so joyful, and also melancholy, because Françoise Dorléac tragically died the year after.
Rochefort still is a lovely city bathed in that exceptional light in the summer.
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on 9 November 2009
Leave your brain and logic on hold - sit back on a wet Sunday afternoon with a pot of tea and a box of soft centres - and ENJOY this film.

OK, the plot is dead obvious - (all these Shakespearian coincidences!) but the gorgeous tunes and the dancing and the pastel colours in almost constant French sunshine are a joy to behold. It really cheers you up.

Its not as good, admittedly, as 'Umbrellas' but it has a charm of its own - the dancers in the streets in the background - I wish my local shopping mall was like that!

Michel Legrand's music would be considered 'cheesy' nowadays (this film was made before the Beatles and Rolling Stones, remember) but it is a very skillful manipulation of harmony and counterpoint - alright, its not supposed to be Stravinsky, for goodness' sake.... Lets not be too critical.

Every time I watch it, I am left with a big smile on my face.

Can't say more than that?

Badger.
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on 2 January 2014
An excellent remastered copy of the movie, French or English language, with or without subtitles, numerous interesting bonuses, this collector edition in a box of 2 DVDs has got everything to seduce. ... and at a bargain price if compared to the same product sold in France.

Vive internet !
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on 3 October 2015
The BFI do it again! Wonderful disc, making it a joy to watch over and over. Never seen anywhere else in the UK that even sells a film like this!
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on 24 April 2013
This is one of those charming, lunatic films that should be in the film library of anyone who aspires to a good collection of classics. It stars Gene Kelly, George Chakiris (from West Side Story), Catherine Deneuve and her glorious real-life sister Françoise Dorléac, playing her twin. I imagine there's a plot lurking in there somewhere, but it doesn't get in the road of a lot of wonderful 60s period costumes, songs and dancing. Great fun!
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on 13 November 2015
Bought as a gift. The recipient loves it.
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on 23 February 2015
Always a joy to watch
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on 27 December 2015
I love it.
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