Director, screenwriter and actor, Jacques Demy has worked with all the great icons of cinema. With his lush musical cinema, he has stood out to become one of the most talented directors in France. Not always understood by the general public at his time, Jacques Demy is today a muse, inspiring among other things the film La la land.
Jacques Demy was born in 1931 near Nantes. From an early age, he wanted to entertain and is attracted to art by starting puppet shows at age 4. His love for film and music grew just as fast, he learned the violin and created animated films through film painting. At the age of 13, Jacques receives his first camera, a Pathé baby, and takes classes at the Beaux-Arts de Nantes in his spare time.
His passion continues to grow against the advice of his parents who wanted him to pursue a career as a mechanic. Luckily, Demy meets Christian Jaque who manages to convince his father to let him continue his studies at the School of Photography and Cinema in Vaugirard in 1949. Everything then moves very swifltly, the boy from Nantes became the assistant of the actor / director George Rouquier and then produced his first short film in 1955, a documentary called Le Sabotier du val de Loire. The following year, he presents his first short fiction film at the festival of Tours and meets his girlfriend Agnès Varda, now doyenne of the French directors.
In 1960, Jacques Demy approached the new wave led by Godard and Chabrol among others. It is George de Beauregard who will give him his chance as a young director by producing his first feature film: Lola which is showing on Sunday 3rd Feb at 9pm on TV5MONDE. Demy wanted Jean-Louis Tintignant in the lead role but he had to give up for lack of budget. Another meeting will then change his career, meeting Michel Legrand who will compose the music of all his upcoming films except Une chambre en ville.
Jacques Demy will then create La baie des Anges with Jeanne Moreau. It was in Cannes that he had the idea to make a film around gaming and had real success and then won the Palme d'Or in 1964 thanks to Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, an entirely sung musical film that will make Catherine Deneuve a star. In 1967, Jacques Demy works again with Catherine Deneuve in Les demoiselles de Rochefort.
It is at this moment that Demy decides to leave for the United States, and there will shoot a dozen film and notably Peau d'âne, the famous adaptation of the tale by Charles Perrault.
In 1982, after spending a lot of time on projects that didn't have the success expected, he released a new film entirely sung reminiscent of his working-class origins. Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu were cast as the main heroes but not wishing to be dubbed for singing, Deneuve refuses the role then causing Depardieu's refusal. Nevertheless Jacques Demy returned with success, and his film obtains 9 nominations at the Césars of 1983.
His latest feature film was released in 1988, Trois pour le 26 is a kind of love letter to the world of the stage, a passion that followed him since his puppet shows until his death 2 years later in 1990. His films, which were not always understood by the general public at the time, were then reevaluated and appreciated for their true value.
The Top 10 Jacques Demyfilms
Les Demoiselles de Rochefort - with Catherine Deneuve, George Chakiris, Françoise Dorléac - 1967
Peau d'âne - with Catherine Deneuve, Jean Marais, Jacques Perrin - 1970
Les parapluies de Cherbourg - with Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon - 1964
La baie des anges - with Jeanne Moreau, Claude Mann, Paul Guers - 1962
Lola - with Anouk Aimée, Marc Michel, Jacques Harden - 1961
Une chambre en ville - with Dominique Sanda, Danielle Darrieux, Richard Berry - 1982
Trois places pour le 26 - with Yves Montand, Catriona Mac Coll, Paul Guers - 1988
Model shop - with Carol Cole, Severn Darden, Tom Fielding - 1969
Lady Oscar - with Jonas Bergstrom, Terence Budd, Martin Potter - 1978
Parking - with Francis Huster, Laurent Malet, Keiko Ito - 1985
Awards / Nominations
2014: Nominated at the Champs-Élysées Film Festival, for Peau d'âne
2013: Nominated at the Cannes Film Festival for Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
2012: Nominated at the Cinéma au clair de Lune for Les Demoiselles De Rochefort, nominated at the Festival du film de jeunesse de Dole for Peau d'âne. Nominated at the Festival du film musical de Paris for Les Demoiselles De Rochefort
2011: Nominated at the Colcoa Film Festival Classics for Lola
Nominated at the San Sebastian Festival - Retrospective
Nominated at Résonances - Rencontre du cinéma citoyen for Une chambre en ville
1983: Nominated for César for Best French Film of the Year for Une chambre en ville
Nominated for César for Best Director for Une chambre en ville
1965: Nominated for Oscar for Best Foreign Film in Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
1964: Grand Prize winner of the Cannes Film Festival for Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
Nominated for Special Prize at the Festival de Cannes for Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
Nominated for Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
1963: Winner of the Louis Delluc Award for Les Parapluies de Cherbourg