Jacques Demy

Director, Screenwriter, Lyricist
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 ... Read more »
Born: 06/05/1931 in France

Filmography

Director (15)

Lola 2001 (Movie)

(Director)

The Young Girls of Rochefort 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

La Table tournante 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

Trois places pour le 26 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

Parking 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

Une Chambre en Ville 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Lady Oscar 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

The Pied Piper 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

Donkey Skin 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

Model Shop 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

Bay of Angels 1964 (Movie)

(Director)

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 1964 (Movie)

(Director)

The Seven Deadly Sins 1963 (Movie)

(("Lust"/"La Luxure")) (Director)

Le Sabotier du Val de Loire 1954 (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (14)

The Young Girls of Rochefort 1998 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

La Table tournante 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Trois places pour le 26 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Parking 1984 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Une Chambre en Ville 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Pied Piper 1971 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Donkey Skin 1969 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Model Shop 1969 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Model Shop 1969 (Movie)

English dialogue (Writer (dialogue))

Bay of Angels 1964 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 1964 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Seven Deadly Sins 1963 (Movie)

(("Lust"/"La Luxure")) (Screenplay)

Le Sabotier du Val de Loire 1954 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Actor (3)

Jacquot 1993 (Movie)

(cameo appearance) Himself (Actor)

Paris Nous Appartient 1959 (Movie)

(Actor)

The 400 Blows 1959 (Movie)

Policeman (Actor)
Music (3)

The Young Girls of Rochefort 1998 (Movie)

lyrics (Theme Lyrics)

Parking 1984 (Movie)

lyrics (Theme Lyrics)

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 1964 (Movie)

lyrics (Theme Lyrics)
Producer (1)

Model Shop 1969 (Movie)

(Producer)

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 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).

Relationships

Marie-Louise Demy

Mother

Brother

Raymond Demy

Father

Mathieu Demy

Son
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)

Agnes Varda

Wife
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)

Rosalie Varda-Demy

Daughter
born in 1958

EDUCATION

attended a technical college in Nantes, studying to be a mechanic

Ecole de Vaugirard

Paris 1949

Ecole des Beaux Arts

Milestones

1988

Last film, "Trois Places Pour le 26"

1985

Reinterpreted the Orpheus myth as "Parking"

1983

Hired to direct the cable TV-movie "Louisiana" (Cinemax); withdrew for "personal and family reasons" and was replaced by Philippe de Broca

1982

After several years of critical decline, bounced back somewhat with the musical tragedy "Une chambre en ville",

1981

Turned briefly to TV, directing "La Naissance du jour"

1979

Made English-language film "Lady Oscar"

1976

Staged first Cesar Awards ceremony

1972

Co-wrote and directed "The Pied Piper", starring Danny Kaye; film made for UNICEF; first-English language film

1969

Directed Catherine Deneuve in the fairy tale-inspired "Peau d'ane/Donkey Skin/The Magic Donkey"

1967

Stumbled at the box-office with "Les demoiselles de Rochefort/The Young Ladies of Rochefort", another all-sung film

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 Sc

1961

Feature directing debut, "Lola"

1959

Acted in Truffaut's "The 400 Blows"; played bit part of a policeman

1955

First short film as director, "Le sabotier du Val de Loire"; also scripted

1952

Worked as assistant to Paul Grimault making advertising cartoons

1952

First film as assistant director, "Lourdes et ses miracles", directed by Georges Rouquier

1944

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)

Raised in Nantes, France

Bonus Trivia

.

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."

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