Biography

Though a contemporary of such Nouvelle Vague filmmakers as Chabrol, Godard and Truffaut, Jacques Demy eschewed their tendency towards heavy, realistic dramas centered the ills of the contemporary world. His best loved films were romantic, lyrical and fairytale like, but always imbued with dark undercurrents of psychological realism. Like other New Wave directors, Demy was passionate about cinema, particularly Hollywood musicals, which he paid specific tribute to in Les Desmoiselles de Rochefort. In the early '50s, Demy assisted animator Paul Grimault and documentarist Georges Rouquier. He began directing shorts in the mid '50s with Le Sabotier Du Val De Loire and Le Bel Indifférent. Demy made his feature debut in 1961 with the popular romance Lola. Dedicated to Max Ophuls and his film Lola Montes, Demy's first film is still considered by many to be his finest. Demy topped that success with the international hit Les Parapluies De Cherbourg (aka The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), a low-key and beautifully stylized romantic musical by Michel Legrand (who had scored Demy's shorter works) in which all of the players sang their lines against a paradise of quaint buildings painted in pastels. The film was a great success and remains one of Demy's best known films. In hopes of recapturing that success, he and Legrand again teamed up for Les Desmoiselles De Rochefort (aka The Young Girls of Rochefort) with Gene Kelly. His notable later films include the handsome fairy tales Peau D'Ane (aka Donkey Skin) and The Pied Piper of Hamelin (aka The Pied Piper); the comedy L'Évenement Le Plus Important Depuis Que L'Homme A Marché Sur La Lune (aka A Slightly Pregnant Man) with Marcello Mastroianni; Parking, his Doors-inspired remake of Cocteau's Orphée; La Table Tournante, a live-action-and-animation mix reteaming Demy and Paul Grimault; and Demy's last film, the Yves Montand musical Trois Places Pour Le 26. Following Demy's death in late 1990 of a cerebral hemorrhage, his widow Agnes Varda, a filmmaker in her own right, began making documentary tributes to her beloved and influential husband the most famous of which is the docudrama- Jacquot de Nantes. ~ Rovi