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parrot_knight [userpic]

Les demoiselles de Rochefort

January 2nd, 2009 (10:55 pm)

I've just watched this for the first time this evening on the BFI DVD. Required viewing for musical-lovers - while I'm not a great fan of the excesses of the MGM studio musical this adapts its conventions for a story about how everyday life is one of seemingly hopeless aspirations, but where everyone can get on when those dreams are respected and celebrated. Outstanding colour co-ordination, juxtaposition of 'natural' movement, dance by non-dancers and dance by Gene Kelly and his ilk, and the use of Rochefort's central square and adjoining streets as a vast stage, make this visually remarkable. I suspect that Joss Whedon knows it, as it's the nearest film I've seen to Buffy the Vampire Slayer's 'Once More With Feeling'.


Posted by: romancinger (romancinger)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
roman food

I'll have to watch this sometime. It gives me a small boost to know that despite my advanced age, there are still some good things I haven't seen!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)

It's good to see Gene Kelly lead the sort of dance sequence he often (but not always) performed on abstract studio sets in a real street - the outer lives of the characters are expressions of their inner lives. The notes in the booklet accompanying the DVD describe the director's philosophy as 'I dream, therefore I am', and it is these dream-personae which interact - not once are the self-identified artists and poets dismissed as motorbike salesmen, for example. If someone says that they ran away to Mexico with a rich lover whereas all the time they were single in Rochefort, then as far as those to whom the story was told know, they did go to Mexico and that is a reality too. The film was critically savaged when it opened in the US in 1967, and what seems like a wilful misreading of cinematic musical conventions can take a while to attune oneself to, but it is worth it.