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The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, George Chakiris, Françoise Dorléac, more...
Director: Jacques Demy
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Rating:
Studio: Miramax
Genre: Musicals
Running Time: 125 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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Synopsis
Jacques Demy directed this frothy tribute to the Hollywood musicals of the 1940s, a follow-up to his earlier success The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964). Twin sisters Delphine and Solange (played by real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorleac) live in the small coastal town of Rochefort, where they run a school teaching dancing and music. Both feel frustrated in Rochefort, and they dream of travelling to Paris, where they believe romance and opportunity awaits them. Meanwhile, their single mother, Yvonne (Danielle Darrieux), who runs a cafe in town, pines for her lost love, Simon (Michel Piccoli). One day, one of Yvonne's regular customers, a sailor with an artistic bent named Maxence (Jacques Perrin), shows her a painting of the imaginary girl of his dreams, and she looks just like Delphine, whom he's never met. Meanwhile, Simon has returned to Rochefort, bringing with him a close friend, American pianist Andy Miller (Gene Kelly); Simon has made friends with Solange and introduces her to Andy, who immediately falls in love with her. Sadly, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort was Françoise Dorleac's last film; she died in an auto accident shortly after completing the picture. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

My Kind of "Ten" (and it ain't "Chicago") by talltale January 16, 2005 - 4:26 PM PST
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8 out of 9 members found this review helpful
Jacques Demy's THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT is such a special treat--so bright, light and airy, full of wonderful music and dance--that it's difficult to over-rate it or not recommend it. And yet. Demy is a cinema artist who always verged on the precious (in my opinion he rarely toppled over), so this may cause trouble for some. Musicals are generally "unbelievable" by their very nature, but Demy underscores this with a utterly fake, fairy-tale "take" on everything (including murder and dismemberment!).

His "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" has always seemed to me a heavy-handed, repetitive, sentimental downer; "Young Girls" is very nearly its polar opposite. (Demy's wife, the wonderful filmmaker Agnes Varda, has overseen the reconstruction of this classic, and we owe her quite a debt!) Unlike his score for "Umbrellas," Michel Legrand's music here is full of jazzy, astonishing riffs and lots of different melodies. Accompanying it are some delightful 'lyrics that are translated fittingly--if not precisely--into equally delightful English. Catherine Deneuve and her late sister Francoise Dorleac are wonderful in the title roles, and they're helped immensely by the likes of Danielle Darrieux, George Chakiris, Grover Dale, Gene Kelly (yes, an American in Rochefort!), Michel Piccoli and a young and exquisitely beautiful Jacques Perrin. The dancing is a joy, as well, as you'd expect from a film that offers Chakiris, Dale and Kelly.

Characters sing of their lives and lost loves, and everything--from the pastel-painted city to the gorgeously coordinated costumes--is as unbelievable yet as wonderful as an enchanted dream. I remember enjoying the film when it first appeared. Now, it seems not only OF its time but AHEAD of that time and so special and perfect that I suspect certain of us will want to revisit it every few years, for as many as we have left. In a word: transporting.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 7.18)
93 Votes
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