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Blogging from San Sebastian September 17-25, 2021

Coverage Recap of 61st edition. Photo gallery 2013 Recap of 63rd edition, video I Recap of 64th edition, video I Recap of 65th edition, video / Recap of 66th edition /Recap of 68th edition, video



59th San Sebastian Film Festival - Classic retrospective. JACQUES DEMY


In its 59th edition, San Sebastian Festival will dedicate a complete retrospective to the work of French filmmaker Jacques Demy (Pontchâteau, 1931-Paris 1990), a figure key to French cinema who pumped surprising new breath into the musical genre. Although initially grouped with other young directors belonging to the nouvelle vague movement,Demy's work eventually became so unique and difficult to classify that he set off along his own, absolutely personal path. His original approach to "singing cinema" and his exquisite sense of artistic direction always shunned the movie fashions or trends of the moment.

Demy studied Fine Arts, starting in animation cinema as an assistant to Paul Grimault. He later worked as an assistant director to the documentary-maker, Georges Rouqier, who produced his first short, Le Sabotier du Val de Loire (1955). Having directed several short films, Demy made his debut in features with the first of his great films, Lola (1960), an emblematic title among French new wave movies. He reconfirmed his talent in a melodrama set in the gambling world, La baie des anges (Bay of Angels, 1963), starring Jeanne Moreau.  

However, it was his third film that send ripples through the celluloid world and overwhelmingly established his peculiar vision of film: Les parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1964), winner of a Palme d'Or at Cannes Festival and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Starring Catherine Deneuve, this brilliant new take on the musical where dialogue is replaced by song, was to find a continuation in his delicious homage to Hollywood movies, Les demoiselles de Rochefort(The Young Girls of Rochefort, 1967), in which Deneuve and François Dorleac rub shoulders on the cast with a myth of musical films, Gene Kelly.  

In his next works, Demy continued exploring his extravagant aesthetics and cinematic narrative bringing us, among others, the remarkable Model Shop (1969), reflecting his view of American society at that time; Peau d'âne (Donkey Skin, 1970), a fascinating look at the world of children's stories once again starring Catherine Deneuve; Lady Oscar (1979), adaptation of the Japanese manga "The Rose of Versailles;" Une chambre en ville (1982), yet another musical about a tragic love story set against a political backdrop; and Trois places pour le 26 (Three Places for the 26th, 1988), a last work in which fiction and reality merge to portray the life and career of actor Yves Montand. 

A book on the filmmaker's work coordinated by Quim Casas and Ana Cristina Iriarte will be edited.

This cycle is co-organised with the Filmoteca Española and sponsored by EGEDA and IBAIA.


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About SanSebastian

Barreda de Biurrun Inés

Blogging from the 69th San Sebastian Film Festival
Reporting by Inés Barreda de Biurrun and Bruno Chatelin.

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