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Lola

Screening on Film
Directed by Jacques Demy.
With Anouk Aimée, Marc Michel, Alan Scott.
France/Italy, 1961, 35mm, black & white, 88 min.
French and English with English subtitles.

Demy burst out of the gate with this effusive, feather-light portrait of old France receding in the rear view to be replaced by a young, liberated postwar culture. With the sexual revolution feeling very much on the horizon, Lola bounces between intertwining characters in Demy’s hometown of Nantes, their fleeting connections forming a fluid tapestry of love given and denied, dreams fulfilled and sacrificed. At the film’s center is the relationship between a shambolic loner and the charismatic cabaret dancer—the non-stop energy source that is Anouk Aimée—for whom he pines. Shot monochromatically by Raoul Coutard on anamorphic lenses during the rising days of his New Wave reputation, Demy’s film presents a world so lively and overgrown with cinematic references (an opening credit offers Max Ophüls as a touch point) that it literally appears to bulge outside the spatial limitations of the frame—a fitting analogue to the script’s optimistic sense of limitless possibilities, renewed by each dramatic cut and sweeping camera move.

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