Monday, May 06, 2013

Jacques Demy

Staying with the theme of love, romance and Spring don't miss with a visit to the Jacques Demy exposition at the musee de la Cinémathèque Française. Who hasn't seen The Umbrellas of Cherbourg at one point or another? If you haven't you can catch it at the cinemathèque with your entry ticket to the exhibit
51, rue de Bercy Metro Bercy #6
The story of boy filmmaker, Jacques Demy meets girl filmmaker, Agnes Varda could not be more endearing...
In her own words...
Demy's earliest film efforts are displayed in a facsimile setup created in his attic at age 13. "It was alone in his attic young Jacques began to make short animated films, including Attaque Nocturne, in the tradition of films painted on celluloid. His desire to make films in 1949, next led him to Paris where he took classes at the École Technique de Photographie et de Cinematographie."
Throughout the exposition there are loads of interactive displays with film clips, headphones, sketches and storyboards many drawn by Demy himself.
Jacques Demy comes across altogether a tres sympathique guy passionately committed to creating his vision and supporting his actors in every way.
Catherine Deneuve, his main muse, appears in many of his films...
"Jacques is the first director who really looked at me, who really saw me. Something brought me to light, and gave me the self-assurance I could do something and confidence I could really do something I didn't really believe in, not because I had doubts but because I had a much deeper doubt about being able to do something special, about being unique".
Demy was mad for Hollywood and Marilyn Monroe. He made Jeanne Moreau over to replicate her in appearance, voice and gesture for Des Baies des Anges.
There's artwork to compliment and reference the films like Rual Dufy's Baies des Anges in Cannes. Other artists represented:Jean Cocteau, David Hockney, Alexander Calder, Niki de Saint-Phalle.
Costume sketches like Anouk Amiee's fabulous corselet from Lola..
Plus the elaborate costumes from Demy's fantasie period film, Peau d'Ane
With Deneuve again...
Sets if course and the amazing wallpapers specially designed for each film.. "For The Umbrella of Cherbourg, 90% of the papers were specially printed with the color we wanted. When I said to the production that I needed about 15,000 Francs worth of papers in a total sets budget of 120,000 Francs, they told me I was crazy. But that's where the money had to be spent; for the rest, we were sure we'd manage." 1981
The gift shop is a joy to behold, selling multicolored parapluies and the wIld hats worn by the sisters in 'Cherbourg'. On Saturdays at 5 there's a singing duo to accompany you through the exhibit (in French bien sur). And as previously mentioned your entry ticket can be used to see whatever films are playing that day in the Cinémathèque Française. A don't miss exhibit for total French immersion in my opinion.


  1. You make it sound wonderful! I'm going to make sure we see this one. Loved "Umbrellas..."

    1. A love story for film, femmes, colores

  2. I've never seen "Umbrellas" and haven't seen a French film since my first date with my husband, who I married nine years ago. I guess that makes me quite a slouch in the French culture dept.

    Jeanne Moreau looks sickly as a blonde but the Dufy redeems it all. I will def put this on my To Do list, but I have my heart set on buying an umbrella with the Paris Metro map on it from the RATP boutique at Chatelet.

  3. We loved that movie..again and again..the score of course is timeless as the movie is..And Peau d'Ane? I have the soundtrack too..I love her baking scene.

    I find her so magnetic..I can never stop looking at her ..always anticipating the next scene with her.
    Elle est superbe..encore maintenant.

    1. Definitely your kind of film Monique!

  4. Ahh Carol, I was humming the Cherbourg tunes as I looked at the post. What a wonderful exhibit ... wish I could see it.

    Perhaps you will choose a brolly from the gift shop? xo

    1. The brollies are very pretty but I don't like the big ones.
      In fact I refuse to carry an umbrella in Paris on principle.
      I got rained on this morning too :)

  5. Bonjour Carol. So funny. I watched a segment about this exhibit on the French news this weekend (I subscribe to channel TV5 in the US.) I thought that sounded like a great event, and you confirm this here. One of the interesting things I learned was that Demi is credited for "discovering" Harrison Ford! That's right, Indiana Jones. They even interviewed Harrison in L.A. who said "Merci Jacques..." Apparently Demy cast Harrison in a movie in the 1960s when nobody else on the team wanted him to... Who knew?
    Bonne semaine parisienne.
    Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    1. Ha! I watched the same program on Arte 5
      I wish I'd had you here to explain the difficult bits...
      I loved his movies but I wasn't so sure if I would love the exhibit but in fact I did.
      It's an aide-memoire to those first experiences with French films eons ago.
      There are lots of kids at the exhibit and stuff for them to do FYI

  6. Deneuve was so lovely, wasn't she! So young here...

  7. I love that first shot of Catherine Deneuve.
    The exhibit looks like a good one!

  8. A few months ago there was a wonderful write up in Paris Match about Catherine Deneuve.
    What a great lady!
    She and Sophia Loren are true icons of cinema.

  9. Look's like a fun exhibit. I too think Deneuve was lovely and perfect for his muse. I also love reading everyone's comments here too.

  10. Anonymous2:25 AM

    Thanks for the Jacques Demy---dying to see the exhibit--I love Agnes Varda! LuLu

  11. So interesting to see that shot of a very young Deneuve. One of the great classical beauties, she never seems to fade. (And she can act!)
    What an interesting exhibition!


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