Monthly Film – June

Jacquot de Nantes 1991
by Agnès Varda

Jacqout FOR MAILThursday 18th June 2015 – 6.00pm
at
Sri Lanka Foundation
No.100, Sri Lanka Padanama Mw,
Independence Square,
Colombo 7.

 

 

 

 

Jacquot de Nantes
The film is a portrait of the making of an artist; recreating the early life of Varda’s husband, Jacques Demy, in Occupied France and his interest in the various crafts associated with film making, such as casting, set design, animation and lighting. The fictional sections set in wartime Nantes are matched with brief documentary interludes involving the dying Demy. It was screened out of competition at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.

Synopsis

A year after the untimely death of her husband and fellow filmmaker Jacques Demy, director Agnès Varda produced this film based on Demy’s memoirs. Focusing on Demy’s childhood, Jacquot de Nantes explores the Les Parapluies de Cherbourg director’s burgeoning fascination with film as a boy and introduces viewers to his mother and father, a hairdresser and garage owner, respectively.

Il était une fois un garçon, élevé dans un garage où tout le monde aimait chanter. C’était en 1939, il avait 8 ans, il aimait les marionnettes et les opérettes. Puis il a voulu faire du cinéma mais son père lui a fait étudier la mécanique. C’est de Jacques DEMY qu’il s’ agit et de ses souvenirs. C’est une enfance heureuse qui nous est contée, malgré les évènements de la guerre et de l’après-guerre.

Reviews of the film

Agnes Varda, who made her first feature, “Cleo From 5 to 7,” in 1961, remains one of the most long-lived, productive and difficult to categorize directors associated with France’s New Wave. Though many of her colleagues have lost their momentum or died, she continues, in part, it seems, because she has never become locked into a particular form or dominant ideology. As the years go by, her focus shifts. She lives in a present that is ever enriched by the accumulating past.

“Jacquot de Nantes” is the sort of film that no one but Miss Varda would have made or, for that matter, could have made. It’s neither documentary nor, in the usual sense, fiction.

It’s a one-of-a-kind celebration of a very gentle man, Jacques Demy, the French film maker (“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” among others), who died last October and who was Miss Varda’s husband and the father of their son, Mathieu. The film’s origins were singular.

“Jacquot de Nantes” is as gentle as Demy is remembered to have been by those who knew him. In its scrubbed-clean look of a nearly trouble-free past, the film is also respectful of the physical and emotional artifice that Demy’s films exalted. Neither sarcasm nor irony has any place in this world, where every particular detail is a kind of generalized ideal.
read more

~ VINCENT CANBY, New York Times

Jacquot Demy est un petit garçon nantais rêveur. Sa maman, coiffeuse, vocalise en frisant les dames ; son papa, garagiste, est un rossignol en bleu de travail. Jacquot chante aussi, comme son petit frère… Ce film est l’hommage, pudique et complice, d’une femme à l’homme qu’elle aime. C’est la rencontre de deux talents entiers, instinctifs. Avec son regard précis, sa gravité tendre, Agnès V. reconstitue l’enfance de Jacques D. sans s’accaparer son univers généreux. Parce qu’elle croit à la vocation, elle cherche à démêler les fils de l’entêtement et de la certitude passionnée qui conduisirent Jacques Demy à la création d’un monde en apesanteur, heureux et pur.

Cette enquête d’amour, traque cinématographique unique, brille par sa construction intelligente et son pouvoir d’évocation. Agnès Varda parsème ses images fictives d’extraits de films de Demy, parvenant à chaque fois à nous faire croire qu’on assiste à leur naissance. Ceux qui ont grandi dans le soleil du cinéma de Jacques Demy ne peuvent que remercier Agnès Varda d’avoir rassemblé ces émotions dans cet hymne à la confiance, à la vie lire en plus

~ Marine Landrot , telerama.fr