Lola


1h 31m 1962
Lola

Brief Synopsis

A cabaret singer and mother named Lola is courted by two men, yet her heart longs for her long absent lover.

Film Details

Also Known As
Donna di vita
Genre
Romance
Drama
Foreign
Release Date
Jan 1962
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Oct 1962
Production Company
Euro International Films; Rome Paris Films
Distribution Company
Films Around the World, Inc.
Country
France

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

For 7 years, Lola, a cabaret entertainer in Nantes, has been waiting for the return of her lover, Michel, who left her with a child and went out into the world to make his fortune. One day, after a brief fling with Frankie, an American sailor who reminds her of Michel, she meets Roland, a childhood friend. A dreamer unable to settle down to a job, Roland has been idling away his time in the company of a lonely widow, Madame Desnoyers, and her 14-year-old daughter, Cécile. Captivated by Lola, Roland unabashedly declares his love for her; but, true to the memory of Michel, she rejects him. Frankie, meanwhile, has also become acquainted with the romantic Cécile, and they spend an afternoon together at a local fair. Then, unexpectedly, Michel returns to Lola and her child. Wildly happy, Lola speeds off in Michel's sleek white Cadillac as a sad and forlorn Roland wanders along a riverside quay. At the same time, young Cécile runs away from home to Cherbourg, the port where Frankie's ship is harbored.

Film Details

Also Known As
Donna di vita
Genre
Romance
Drama
Foreign
Release Date
Jan 1962
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Oct 1962
Production Company
Euro International Films; Rome Paris Films
Distribution Company
Films Around the World, Inc.
Country
France

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Lola


The French New Wave is usually thought of as the ennui-laden adventures of mod youngsters full of radical chic and grim cool. By that measure, Jacques Demy's film's are the feel-good extravaganzas of the Nouvelle Vague -- they have the sentimentality and spectacle of other crowdpleaser genres like American musicals, even if they can't help exuding a particularly French bittersweetness. In this, Demy's first feature, the vibrantly seductive Anouk Aimee (appearing here after a triumphant appearance in La Dolce Vita (1960)) purrs "C'est moi . . . c'est Lola!" to attentive admirers in her cabaret. But her showgirl routine hides the hurt of her lost love for Michel (Jacques Harden). When an aimless younger man (Marc Michel) falls for Lola, it's only a matter of time before everyone's heart breaks in the most exquisitely French fashion. Financed by the same benefactor who produced Godard's Breathless (1960), Demy shuttled his ambitions to make Lola a Technicolor spectacle and instead squeezed it out in black and white on a breakneck five week shoot. While not a commercial success, Lola opened the way for Demy to shoot the "sequel" The Umbrellas of Cherbough (1964) in the lush color he desired.

By Violet LeVoit
Lola

Lola

The French New Wave is usually thought of as the ennui-laden adventures of mod youngsters full of radical chic and grim cool. By that measure, Jacques Demy's film's are the feel-good extravaganzas of the Nouvelle Vague -- they have the sentimentality and spectacle of other crowdpleaser genres like American musicals, even if they can't help exuding a particularly French bittersweetness. In this, Demy's first feature, the vibrantly seductive Anouk Aimee (appearing here after a triumphant appearance in La Dolce Vita (1960)) purrs "C'est moi . . . c'est Lola!" to attentive admirers in her cabaret. But her showgirl routine hides the hurt of her lost love for Michel (Jacques Harden). When an aimless younger man (Marc Michel) falls for Lola, it's only a matter of time before everyone's heart breaks in the most exquisitely French fashion. Financed by the same benefactor who produced Godard's Breathless (1960), Demy shuttled his ambitions to make Lola a Technicolor spectacle and instead squeezed it out in black and white on a breakneck five week shoot. While not a commercial success, Lola opened the way for Demy to shoot the "sequel" The Umbrellas of Cherbough (1964) in the lush color he desired. By Violet LeVoit

Lola


How unfortunate that the pioneers of the French New Wave are so seldom hailed for their tender hearts. Over the years, the revolutionary filmmaking techniques introduced by such directors as Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, and Jacques Demy have overshadowed their shared sense that, in movies, anyway, things can actually turn out right. "Right" in a Godard picture might mean a properly cinematic Parisian death scene, of course, but that's Godard. Demy, on the other hand, was more obviously a true believer in the flowers of romance.

Though he wouldn't get around to his version of an MGM musical until 1964's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Demy was already headed in that general direction in 1961, with Lola, a charming fable of love lost and found that's just been released on DVD by Wellspring. This is one of the more immediately likable movies to rise from the early days of the New Wave. You certainly don't have to be a film professor to appreciate its cinema-reflexive charms, and only a blind man could avoid falling in love with Demy's lead actress, Anouk Aimee.

Surprisingly, given its thematic lightness, Lola is a densely plotted tapestry of coincidences and love-struck desire. Try to follow this: Marc Michel plays Roland, an unfocused young man living in the port city of Nantes. Roland longs for Cecile, the girl he loved and lost years earlier. One day, much to his delight, he actually finds her again. However, she's now a sexy cabaret performer named Lola (Aimee.) (In one of the movie's many film references, Lola is the name of the cruel cabaret performer played by Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel.) Lola, of course, recalls her past with Roland, but she, too, longs for another person- the man who fathered her 7 year-old child, then left her. There's also a dual subplot involving a young schoolgirl (Annie Duperoux) who falls for an American sailor (Alan Scott) while her mother (Elina Labourdette) longs for Roland! The girls at the club where Lola works are also on the lookout for Prince Charming, just in case he comes wandering in.

That may sound like a lot of skipping and jumping, but thematic underpinnings hold the various story elements together. It seems that all the characters are longing to relive that first, overpowering taste of love...the one that, some people argue, can never be tasted again. Their longings unfold in sumptuous style. Note that Nantes is exquisitely photographed in black & white by Raoul Coutard (who also shot Godard's first film, Breathless.) Demy and Coutard play up the soft romance of the place; in its own way, it's every bit as enticing as Aimee is. Michel Legrand also supplies a lovely score, as he did with so many other films of the period. The New Wave's "primitive elegance" serves this story especially well.

It would have been nice if Criterion, the masters of this sort of thing, had gotten its hands on Lola. As it stands, Wellspring has put together a solid, if not exactly overwhelming, package. The film has been restored, but there's still a noticeable amount of blurriness in some scenes, and the soundtrack is only serviceable. There's an original trailer and a brief segment of an Agnes Varda documentary on Demy, during which Aimee and Michel are reunited for the first time in 30 years. One wishes Wellspring could have included the entire documentary, as Demy is an exceptionally interesting director. If you're interested, further evidence can be found on Fox Lorber's DVD of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, in which Lola's protagonist, Roland, literally sings himself to happiness.

For more information about Lola, visit Wellspring Home Video. To order Lola, go to TCM Shopping.

by Paul Tatara

Lola

How unfortunate that the pioneers of the French New Wave are so seldom hailed for their tender hearts. Over the years, the revolutionary filmmaking techniques introduced by such directors as Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, and Jacques Demy have overshadowed their shared sense that, in movies, anyway, things can actually turn out right. "Right" in a Godard picture might mean a properly cinematic Parisian death scene, of course, but that's Godard. Demy, on the other hand, was more obviously a true believer in the flowers of romance. Though he wouldn't get around to his version of an MGM musical until 1964's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Demy was already headed in that general direction in 1961, with Lola, a charming fable of love lost and found that's just been released on DVD by Wellspring. This is one of the more immediately likable movies to rise from the early days of the New Wave. You certainly don't have to be a film professor to appreciate its cinema-reflexive charms, and only a blind man could avoid falling in love with Demy's lead actress, Anouk Aimee. Surprisingly, given its thematic lightness, Lola is a densely plotted tapestry of coincidences and love-struck desire. Try to follow this: Marc Michel plays Roland, an unfocused young man living in the port city of Nantes. Roland longs for Cecile, the girl he loved and lost years earlier. One day, much to his delight, he actually finds her again. However, she's now a sexy cabaret performer named Lola (Aimee.) (In one of the movie's many film references, Lola is the name of the cruel cabaret performer played by Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel.) Lola, of course, recalls her past with Roland, but she, too, longs for another person- the man who fathered her 7 year-old child, then left her. There's also a dual subplot involving a young schoolgirl (Annie Duperoux) who falls for an American sailor (Alan Scott) while her mother (Elina Labourdette) longs for Roland! The girls at the club where Lola works are also on the lookout for Prince Charming, just in case he comes wandering in. That may sound like a lot of skipping and jumping, but thematic underpinnings hold the various story elements together. It seems that all the characters are longing to relive that first, overpowering taste of love...the one that, some people argue, can never be tasted again. Their longings unfold in sumptuous style. Note that Nantes is exquisitely photographed in black & white by Raoul Coutard (who also shot Godard's first film, Breathless.) Demy and Coutard play up the soft romance of the place; in its own way, it's every bit as enticing as Aimee is. Michel Legrand also supplies a lovely score, as he did with so many other films of the period. The New Wave's "primitive elegance" serves this story especially well. It would have been nice if Criterion, the masters of this sort of thing, had gotten its hands on Lola. As it stands, Wellspring has put together a solid, if not exactly overwhelming, package. The film has been restored, but there's still a noticeable amount of blurriness in some scenes, and the soundtrack is only serviceable. There's an original trailer and a brief segment of an Agnes Varda documentary on Demy, during which Aimee and Michel are reunited for the first time in 30 years. One wishes Wellspring could have included the entire documentary, as Demy is an exceptionally interesting director. If you're interested, further evidence can be found on Fox Lorber's DVD of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, in which Lola's protagonist, Roland, literally sings himself to happiness. For more information about Lola, visit Wellspring Home Video. To order Lola, go to TCM Shopping. by Paul Tatara

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Filmed on location in Nantes. Opened in Paris in March 1961 at 85 min; in Rome in April 1961 as Donna di vita.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States March 1997

Released in United States September 1991

Re-released in United States March 22, 2002

Re-released in United States November 16, 2001

Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival March 6-19, 1997.

Feature directorial debut for Jacques Demy.

Released in United States March 1997 (Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival March 6-19, 1997.)

Re-released in United States March 22, 2002 (NuArt; Los Angeles)

Released in United States September 1991 (Shown in Los Angeles (Laemmle's Monica) September 15-18, 1991 in the series "Lost French Classics.")

Re-released in United States November 16, 2001 (Film Forum; New York City)