Jacques Demy

One of the giants of French postwar cinema, Jacques Demy (1931-1990) is best known for his fantastically exuberant THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG. Though he shared aesthetic connections with the New Wave-location shooting, kinetic mise-en-sè and love of American movies-Demy is clearly the architect of a singular universe.

His films, LOLA (1960), BAY OF ANGELS (1962) and THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964) all included scores by famed composer Michel Legrand. For THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, it took one year for Legrand to find the musical style that could fit Demy’s dialogue. The result was a popular opera that was able to reach a broad audience. Demy created for Catherine Deneuve the unforgettable character of a passionate young girl who betrays her first love because of social pressures. THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG was a huge success everywhere (Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and five Academy Award nominations). Two of the songs from the film were sung by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Nan Mouskouri and Sarah Vaughan. Jacques Demy got along so well with Catherine Deneuve that he made three more films with her including, THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT (1967), PEAU D’ANE (1970) and A SLIGHTLY PREGNANT MAN (1973).

Demy made three films in English, including MODEL SHOP (1969), THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN (1972) (which starred Donovan as the Pied Piper) and LADY OSCAR (1979). Meanwhile, Demy continued his popular operas with A ROOM IN TOWN (1982), composed by Michel Colombier and starring Dominique Sanda.

Jacques Demy was married to filmmaker Agnès Varda (CLEO FROM 5 TO 7). They had two children, Rosalie and Mathieu and lived in Paris and Los Angeles. Demy died October 27, 2000. Agnès Varda made three films about Jacques Demy-JACQUOT DE NANTES, a feature about his youth and his desire to make films (1990) and a documentary, THE WORLD OF JACQUES DEMY (1995) with clips from all of his films and interviews with his actors and collaborators. She also made a documentary in 1992 on the shooting of THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT (LES DEMOISELLES ONT EU 25 ANS).
Jacques Demy