The Young Girls of Rochefort

"Paris is small for a great passion like yours."

Jacques Demy already had great success with his 1964 musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg when he stepped up to direct The Young Girls of Rochefort. Continuing his same colorful style, Rochefort explodes with pastels and a supersaturated palette, not exactly lining up with the styles preferred by Demy’s French New Wave pals. That being said, he still found ways to subvert the genre so well established by Hollywood. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Musicals From the 60s series with Demy’s 1967 film The Young Girls of Rochefort. 

We talk about the story and why it doesn’t work that well for us, even though the elements of subversion give us a bit more appreciation for what Demy was trying to do here. We chat about the great cast helmed by Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac and how well they do. We specifically discuss the three Americans who somehow found their way into this film – Gene Kelly, George Chakiris and Grover Dale. We look at Demy’s use of color and revel in the way he paints on screen with it. We ponder over the mysterious murder and debate as to why it’s in the film. And we revel in the glorious use of long takes all throughout the film and how the camerawork seems to be as choreographed as the dancing itself.

It’s a film with plenty of charm and dancing and singing and dancing and more and more and more. We struggled a bit with the film but it provided us with an interesting conversation. So check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Pete Wright