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Jacques Demy

Jacques Demy

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A Slightly Pregnant Man... Jacques Demy's "A Slightly Pregnant Man" (1977) is a hysterical, deadpan farce... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now



Also Known As: Died: October 27, 1990
Born: June 5, 1931 Cause of Death: brain hemorrhage brought on by leukemia
Birth Place: France Profession: director, screenwriter, lyricist, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Versatile director whose films such as "Lola" (1961) are generally noted for their stylish, bittersweet yet often optimistic romanticism. Demy made several musicals, including "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964)--in which all the dialogue was sung--and worked often with actress Catherine Deneuve and composer Michel Legrand. He married fellow New Wave director Agnes Varda in 1962. Varda paid tribute to her ailing husband with the wistful, biographical "Jacquot/Jacquot de Nantes" (1991). Demy grew up in Nantes, and originally was expected to follow in his father's footsteps and trained as a mechanic. Instead, he headed into the arts. After earning a degree from L'Ecole Technique de Photographie et de Cinematographie, Demy worked on publicity films and as an assistant to animator Paul Grimault, then as assistant to director Georges Rouquier on "Lourdes et ses miracles" (1954). In 1955, he also secured the backing of Pathe for his own short film, "Le Sabotier du Val du Loire," which was a slow-paced documentary about the family of clog makers with who Demy had lived when he was a child during World War II. He made his first short fiction film "Le Bel indifferent" in 1957, based on a short play by Jean...

Versatile director whose films such as "Lola" (1961) are generally noted for their stylish, bittersweet yet often optimistic romanticism. Demy made several musicals, including "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964)--in which all the dialogue was sung--and worked often with actress Catherine Deneuve and composer Michel Legrand. He married fellow New Wave director Agnes Varda in 1962. Varda paid tribute to her ailing husband with the wistful, biographical "Jacquot/Jacquot de Nantes" (1991). Demy grew up in Nantes, and originally was expected to follow in his father's footsteps and trained as a mechanic. Instead, he headed into the arts. After earning a degree from L'Ecole Technique de Photographie et de Cinematographie, Demy worked on publicity films and as an assistant to animator Paul Grimault, then as assistant to director Georges Rouquier on "Lourdes et ses miracles" (1954). In 1955, he also secured the backing of Pathe for his own short film, "Le Sabotier du Val du Loire," which was a slow-paced documentary about the family of clog makers with who Demy had lived when he was a child during World War II. He made his first short fiction film "Le Bel indifferent" in 1957, based on a short play by Jean Cocteau. After several other short films came "Lola" in 1960, set in his own home town and starring Anouk Aimee as a beautiful, fearless nightclub singer. Though not a commercial success, "Lola" won the Prix de L'Academie du Cinema and critic Eric Rohmer called it the "most original film of the New Wave" in France. (Although technically, Demy was not a New Wave director. Having worked his way up as an assistant on other's films and not as a critic, he was considered one of the "Left Bank School" director.) Demy's next feature was "La Baie des anges/Bay of Angels" (1962), written in three days and telling the story of a bank employee who becomes fascinated with gambling and Jeanne Moreau, the woman he meets in the casino. "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," starring Catherine Denueve, followed in 1964, gaining Demy an international reputation. In the film all the dialogue is sung, amidst imaginative use of color and design. Also with Deneuve -- and her sister, Francoise Dorleac -- Demy did the all-sung "Les Demoiselles de Rochefort" (1967), but the reception was not as strong. Still, "The Young Girls of Rochefort" (as it was called in English), includes a performance by Gene Kelly whose work on the screen as a director and performer greatly influenced Demy. Demy made "Model Shop" in English, in which Anouk Aimee reappears as Lola, but then flopped with "Peau d'Ane" (1967), "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" (U.S./1972), and "A Slightly Pregnant Man" (1973). It was not until 1979 -- a six year absence -- that Demy again directed. He chose "Lady Oscar" (1979), financed by Japanese interests and based on a Japanese comic strip. He then turned to TV, directing "La Naissance du jour," a adaptation of a story by Colette. Demy bounced back in feature films in 1982, again with sung dialogue, with "Une Chambre en ville". Like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," it was about an ill-fated love affair, this time starring Dominique Sanda. Although honored with the Grand Prix du Cinema, Demy failed to impress the critics in France with the effort. His work after showed a decline in originality. "Parking" (1985), was a retelling of the Orpheus tale, and was a disappointment, even with its score by Michel Legrand. Three years later, Demy made his final film, "Trois place pour le 26". Demy can also be seen briefly in the films of other directors. He played a policeman for Francois Truffaut in "400 Blows" (1959), and also appears in "Paris nous appointment" (1960).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Table tournante, La (1988) Director
2.
  Trois places pour le 26 (1988) Director
3.
  Parking (1985) Director
4.
  Une chambre en ville (1982) Director
5.
  Lady Oscar (1979) Director
7.
  The Pied Piper (1972) Director
8.
  Donkey Skin (1970) Director
9.
  Model Shop (1969) Director
10.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Jacquot (1991) (Cameo Appearance) Himself
2.
3.
 The 400 Blows (1959) Policeman
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Nantes, France
1945:
At age 14, tried to make first feature "L'Aventure de Solange" using neighborhood children; film returned from the processing lab was overexposed (date approximate)
1952:
Worked as assistant to Paul Grimault making advertising cartoons
1952:
First film as assistant director, "Lourdes et ses miracles", directed by Georges Rouquier
1955:
First short film as director, "Le sabotier du Val de Loire"; also scripted
1959:
Acted in Truffaut's "The 400 Blows"; played bit part of a policeman
1961:
Feature directing debut, "Lola"
1964:
Had greatest success with the all-sung, color feature "Les parapluis de Cherbourg/The Umbrellas of Cherbourg"; wrote, directed and supplied lyrics to Michel Legrand's music; received Oscar nomination as Best Foreign-Language Film, Best Screenplay, Best Score and Best Song
1967:
Stumbled at the box-office with "Les demoiselles de Rochefort/The Young Ladies of Rochefort", another all-sung film
1970:
Directed Catherine Deneuve in the fairy tale-inspired "Peau d'ane/Donkey Skin/The Magic Donkey"
1972:
Co-wrote and directed "The Pied Piper", starring Danny Kaye; film made for UNICEF; first-English language film
1976:
Staged first Cesar Awards ceremony
1979:
Made English-language film "Lady Oscar"
1981:
Turned briefly to TV, directing "La Naissance du jour"
1982:
After several years of critical decline, bounced back somewhat with the musical tragedy "Une chambre en ville",
1983:
Hired to direct the cable TV-movie "Louisiana" (Cinemax); withdrew for "personal and family reasons" and was replaced by Philippe de Broca
1985:
Reinterpreted the Orpheus myth as "Parking"
1988:
Last film, "Trois Places Pour le 26"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Ecole des Beaux Arts: -
Ecole de Vaugirard: - 1949

Notes

"There is in the best of his work an underlying strain of melancholy, a unique fusion of lust and wanderlust, an intensity one has no right to expect from material as fey as this." --Critic Gilbert Adair

Demy's films often began with an iris opening, a signature he chose because "I'd seen it at the cinema, especially in silent films, and...I found it very fascinating, this little circle that encompasses a face, isolates it, and makes the picture disappear. The fade-in is really a picture that you remove, that you erase, whereas what I like with the iris shot is that the picture stays behind it, it's not quite finished."

"In New York I met Warhol and the Factory people, and I must say that all those people were much more interesting than the major companies that weren't producing much of interest at the time. In fact, Warhol was reinventing cinema in his way, like Godard, going back to the beginning. I was very tempted (to work with them), but I think the differences between their culture and civilization, and mine were too big, and although I was fascinated by the underground movement, there was no place for me in it. Maybe I was mistaken but that I felt at the time." --Demy in Film Dope, Number 10

"Perhaps I would not have remained in films or pursued acting if it hadn't been for Jacques Demy. He was a single-minded man who never let me think about anything but my career." --actress Catherine Deneuve to columnist Liz Smith in August 1998

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Agnes Varda. Director. Together from 1959; married from 1962 until his death; mother of Mathieu; directed such films as "Cleo from 5 to 7" (1962), "One Sings, the Other Doesn't" (1976) and "Vagabond" (1985).

Family close complete family listing

father:
Raymond Demy. Garage owner.
mother:
Marie-Louise Demy.
daughter:
Rosalie Varda-Demy. Costume designer. Born in 1958.
son:
Mathieu Demy. Actor. Born in 1972; mother, Agnes Varda; appeared in several of Varda's films and supplied the voice of the small clown for Demy's "La table tournante/The Turning Table" (1988).
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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