The Essential Jacques Demy Is the Pick of the Week

Living with my parents is beginning to take its toll. After much looking and consideration, we decided to move into an apartment while we start the process of building our own home. It’s much smaller than the rental houses we looked at but the money saved makes it worth the irritation. However, the apartment we wanted is not available until August 5, which is why we’re still living with my parents.

My parents are lovely people and incredibly kind. While their house is rather large, it’s still pretty cramped when you put both of our families (and all of our belongings in it). It doesn’t help that my parents’ lives are filled with chaos. My father is self-employed (a contractor, building private homes) and both him and my mother are constantly running in and out of the house doing various work things. Likewise, various sub-contractors are on a regular basis stopping by the house picking up plans, dropping off bills, or needing one thing or another. That’s not to mention the millions of phone calls everyone receives creating a constant cacophony of ringing noise.

Add all of that to the general annoyance of not being able to settle in and we’re all going a bit crazy. Perhaps the final straw is my inability to watch the movies I want to watch when I want to watch them. There are constant interruptions, the parental units wanting to watch things themselves, and my mother’s hatred off all things naked, bloody, cursing, or foreign. It’s her house and I recognize her right to not be treated to such things, but it still makes it rather difficult for me to enjoy all sorts of films.

Take this set for example, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. It is one of my wife’s favorite films, it’s pretty universally praised, and is exactly the sort of fun film my mother should love. It’s a throwback to the classic Hollywood musicals, again something my mother would love. Except it’s in French. My mother doesn’t do French. Or any language not English. Like so many others she doesn’t see the point in “reading” a movie. I tried to talk her into it more times than I can remember and I’ve come to understand it just won’t happen.

Which means, for the moment at least, I won’t be watching it either. At least not in the day on the big screen. I’ve gotten into the habit of watching my movies on my desktop computer, or sometimes on the big HD TV in the living room after everybody’s gone to bed. But a film like Umbrellas deserves not only the big screen but plenty of volume too. Likely as not, I’ll buy it (with the help of Barnes & Noble’s 50% off Criterion sale) and then put it away until we move.

I’m guessing it will be worth it. While it is one of my wife’s favorites, I’ve still somehow managed to not see it. Or at least all of it (I’ve caught bits of it here and there when my wife’s put it on and I’ve been too busy to sit down). What I have seen looks like pure joy. It won the Palme d’Or award and the Cannes Film Festival and is beloved by film fans everywhere. With Criterion putting it out with their usual restoration of the video and audio qualities plus a slew of extras.

My wife informs me that the rest of these films (Lola, Bay of Angels, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Donkey Skin and Une Chambre en Ville) are all quite wonderful too, making the entire set worth the money.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Insomnia (Criterion Collection): Erik Skjoldbjærg’s Norwegian crime picture is a masterwork in psychological drama. Christopher Nolan remade it with Al Pacino and Robin Williams and while that’s good, it pales to the original.

Witness for the Prosecution (Kino Blu-ray): Billy Wilder’s excellent courtroom drama with Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, and Tyrone Power gets a HD upgrade from Kino.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (Blu-ray): Another Billy Wilder film gets an upgrade.

Transcendence: This technological sci-fi thriller starring Johnny Deep as a scientist who has his consciousness uploaded into a supercomputer has been highly panned by critics, but it looks like a fun flick for a Friday night.

The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King: In the late ’70s/early ’80s there was an attempt to adapt Tolkien’s epic story to film in animated form. I’ve only seen the first two, and they aren’t really very good, but they are worth mentioning just the same.

All Cheerleaders Die: With a title like that, I’ll surely be watching.

Mat Brewster

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search & Filter