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France at the start of the 1960s, not Paris, but Nantes (to the Southwest). Is director Jacques Demy part of the New Wave? The film, shot by Godard's DP Raoul Coutard, does have the look, in glorious widescreen black and white. But Demy dedicated the film to Max Ophuls, master of the longshot in La Ronde (1950), Madame de (1953), and Lola Montes (1955; from which this film gets its name) - did he represent the "tradition of quality" that the New Wave was rebelling against? He was dead before they began (in 1957). Demy would soon direct the melancholic but glorious The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), which had the actors sing all of the dialogue to the music of Michel Legrand (who also provides the score here in Demy's first film). So, Demy followed his own path (as did his wife, Agnes Varda; Cleo from 5 to 7, 1962) and so does this film. Although the film is titled for Anouk Aimée's cabaret dancer (very different from her sour wife in Fellini's 8 1/2, 1963), we seem to spend more time with Marc Michel who plays Roland Cassard, a bored and rather aimless young man who meets former childhood friend Lola by accident on the sidewalk and falls in love with her. However, Lola, a single mum pining for her boyfriend now gone for 7 years, is not interested in Roland nor anyone who might represent a serious commitment (she has a fling with an American sailor instead). A side-plot or two introduces characters who bear resemblances to the main duo and link with them (or others in the story), a feature that Demy also apparently included _across_ films where these characters may turn up later. Perhaps the plot goes nowhere - certainly this is the case for Cassard (but not for Lola herself) - but the idling is enjoyable, with a dance number and a potential crime enlivening things. Apart from the beautiful opening shot, I didn't register many Ophul styled long-shots (they may be there), but the film has an ease and grace that reminds one of the master...and simultaneously, the New Wave.
Made with such delicate love.
Beautifully shot and well set up. There is a lot to love here. I really want to like this film, but the ending is just so bad. It's unnecessary and undercuts everything the film did right.
Lola has the characteristics of French New Wave films that I enjoy -- charm, grace, pensiveness, humor. It does not have them in spades like some of the classics of that era but, nonetheless, the film is a quite satisfying view. The intersecting lives motif works here (and does not feel forced). Anouk Aimee is good actress to watch. Chances are that if Lola comes up on your radar, you will find it to be a film worth seeing.
Jacques Demy's directorial debut fits exactly what I've always heard: This is a stylish musical without music. Anouk Aimee's performance is iconic. The story is more "gritty" than one might expect from a movie filmed in 1960. This is a study of unrequited love inspired by both Max Ophuls and Josef Von Sternberg's Blue Angel character. In many ways it seems like Demy is making fun of the concept of "romantic movies" as much as he seems entranced by the idea of them. I'm thrilled that Criterion was able to secure this re-storation monitored by Demy's widow and fellow filmmaker, Agnès Varda. It was a joy to watch. The problematic aspect of Criterion's release is this is a part of six disc set. I own it, but I got it for free --- and am really only interested in 3 of his films. This is not one of them.
A beautiful modern fairy-tale about love & loss centered around a cabaret dancer and the men in her life.Jacques Demy is an unknown master of French cinema.
A film about every love imaginable, even if some of them are not meant to be, "Lola" is driven by the comings and goings of many people, but it is even more driven by the Beethoven that slowly plays in the background.
The title... well... the film itself, is an allusion to a number of things. First, it is a "musical without music", description provided by Demy himself, maybe because despite the lack of music, it follows the basic charming conventionalisms of the genre from an aesthetic and structural point of view. More appropriately, it is a musical with music, but with the singing not performing the usual fantasy-like role that it performs in common musicals, where characters suddenly sing and dance out of the blue explaining or complementing a situation. Secondly, the protagonist, passionately played by Anouk Aimée (La Dolce Vita ; 8 1/2 ), nods to Max Opüls' Lola Montès (1955). Thirdly, Lola also references the iconic character from one of the best films ever made: Der Blaue Engel (1930), by Josef von Sternberg, immortalized by the great Marlene Dietrich.
Torn between her first love (Michel) that left her seven years ago promising to come back until he became rich, the American sailor Frankie that reminds her of Michel, and her childhood pre-war friend Roland, Cecile dances a notable adult-oriented number at a cabaret under her stage name "Lola", trying to put her feelings and priorities in order while awaiting for her first love. Confusion and drama ensue, but always filmed spectacularly by Demy's constantly moving camera and smart editing, accompanied by clever gags and Beethoven's 7th Symphony, which seems to have the power to elevate any film to levels never originally ambitioned.
All in all, it is an impressive drama given that it is a debut, probably incorrectly advertised as an American musical (considering the trailers and the posters), because it is a story that, although typical seen with today's eyes, brings solid performances, intense moments, funny situations and an ending which controversy precedes Varda's Le Bonheur (1966).
Lola's concept would belong now to Fassbinder 20 years later.
Very beautiful. I LOVED the way all the characters and storylines weaved themselves together without ever overlapping too much. An excellent, realistic (at times) romance film more about those left behind than those happily ever after!
Iconic and interestingly creates a world that feels real. The newly issued print on blu-ray is amazing compared to other prints I've seen. An unforgettable and highly under-rated film.