Watched: January 31 2021 (Wow! It’s been almost a year…)
Director: Jacques Demy
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Dorléac, George Chakiris, Jacques Perrin, Gene Kelly, Michel Piccoli, Danielle Darrieux, Grover Dale
Runtime: 2h 0min
Delphine and Solange (real life sisters Deneuve and Dorléac) are two very accomplished sisters desperately seeking men. Their mother, Yvonne (Darrieux), runs a café and regrets leaving her fiancé ten years prior due to his unfortunate last name (Dame). In their small seaside town, they sing, dance, frolick, endanger their children, and avoid meeting both their soulmates and axe murderers.
The small town of Rochefort is an eventful one, and there are plenty of things going on. For instance, artist Maxence (Perrin) needs to lower his fucking expectations and perhaps focus more on what sort of personality his dream girl will have and less on what she will look like; Yvonne keeps letting COMPLETE STRANGERS PICK UP HER SON FROM SCHOOL, the complete madwoman; and one of the regular guests at her café is running around brutally murdering women.
Oh, didn’t we mention that? 103 minutes into this romantic and sweet musical, a woman (Lola, actually) is brutally murdered. With an axe. And all the characters proceed to make jokes about it.
Les demoiselles de Rochefort is sort of the opposite of Weekend (which we’re coming to soon) – everyone is sweet and simple (except for the whole axe murderer subplot). It’s beautiful in its pastel ice cream colours, and the singing and dancing is everything.
Delphine and Maxence’s hopeless romantics are contrasted by the more sensible yet still artistic Solange and Andy Miller (Kelly). Then there are the fun and shallow carnies (Chakiris and Dale) and all the fantastic dance numbers. Sure, it’s mildly annoying that no one in this small town has ever met each other before, and Yvonne really is the world’s most irresponsible parent, but this is an incredibly sweet and charming movie which we’re going to watch annually. Do yourself a favour and join us!
What we learned: We need to step up our hat game if we’re ever to meet a man…
Next time: Two for the Road (1967)