Mr. Schmader was unable to watch the scheduled showing of this week's entry in the Slog Streaming Netflix Club, Jacques Demy's 1967 masterpiece The Young Girls of Rochefort (Les Demoiselles de Rochefort in the original French), due to "technical difficulties" (protip David, it's in the upper right corner marked "ON"), so he has asked me to spray you with enthusiasm in his stead.
DID YOU SEE THIS MOVIE? WASN'T IT GREAT?
I think it was even better than I remembered it. The music certainly was; while this has long been my favorite soundtrack, enough that I have the two-CD expanded set on my iPod at all times, hearing it again brought new brightnesses to light. Mr. Savage is going to bar me from Slog for saying it, but Stephen Sondheim never wrote this well, nor did Leonard Bernstein or Comden and Green; we're in Cole Porter territory here, only the tunes are better. This is Michel Legrand's masterpiece, and evokes the pulse and bounce of the sixties better than anything I've ever heard.
The story is ridiculous, as it should be. All that delicious nonsense about the feminine ideal who just happens to be one of twin sisters who is breaking up with the owner of the gallery where painting of said ideal is hanging, and pining for the lost lover who left you with child ten years ago but happens to have a music shop a block away, and the most beautiful man in the world who turns out to be the seventy-year-old dancer in the lavender sport jacket you bumped into on the street, and so on—this isn't a traditional movie, it's an opera, and the characters spin around their rooms and streets with the same stylistic grace that the musical themes swirl around the town square. It's reminiscent of a '30s screwball comedy, but this plot has as much verve as the costumes. And how many American musicals have bouncy pop numbers about cutting up an old woman and stuffing the parts in a wicker basket?
Speaking of costumes, I was right—every man in the film does wear white (or the palest of khaki) trousers, and there should have been enough tight bottoms in those trousers to please you if that's your thing; but MY thing is white go-go boots, a short pleated skirt, and a pointy sixties bra in a tight, tight sweater, so I was pretty much in heaven the whole time. While the magnificence of Catherine Deneuve cannot be denied, I think lovely Josette at the cafe, in blue, was my dream date — though there was a whole lot of Hullabaloo goodness going on with the street-dancing team as well.
I could go on about my love for this movie—Christ, I could give you six paragraphs just about that cafe. One of them would be devoted to just the shelf of aperitifs over the back bar. But I'll let you have a go instead, in the comments. I'll just leave you with this: how fabulous is Simon Dame's hobby of cutting out paper soldiers and mounting them on little holders?