Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Model Shop|
Actor: Gary Lockwood
Genres: Drama, Cult Movies
Maybe Tomorrow. Maybe Never. Maybe. — French New Wave writer / director Jacques Demy, best known for his stylish musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, reunites with French star Anouk Aimée (their first pairing, 1961's Lola) t... more »
The Model Shop: Even better than Antonioni's L'avventura?
R Bedner | 09/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sony marketing calls its new DVD presentation of The Model Shop a "martini movie" -- the implication being that the "movie" ought to be laughed off as a camp curiosity. Don't believe it. Jacques Demy's 1969 The Model Shop is important and influential. Its arrival to DVD is cause for celebration.
With forty years' hindsight, we can see The Model Shop's enormous debt to Antonioni's L'avventura, that great 1960 landmark: Both films take place in desert locales. Both focus on disillusioned architects grasping for meaning and direction. Both architects profess admiration for the emotional fullness of Baroque architecture. Both men betray their girlfriends -- and both in the arms of tawdry exhibitionists. The list goes on and on.
But where L'avventura makes the most of its excellent black and white photography, The Model Shop goes one better by deploying vivid color to convey mood and thought and feeling -- and does so with the same canny impact as in the best color art photography (the esteemed William Eggleston comes to mind). When in the final frames, the film's action renounces color and cuts to the blackest black, the dramatic edit conveys unsettling truths about the lead character's dilemma. In this one bold move, The Model Shop distills and outperforms Antonioni (and seems to have provided the template for the "Paint it Black" ending to Stanley Kubrick's 1987 Full Metal Jacket.) This and its lead character's emotional predicament at film's end also appear to have influenced the memorable ending to Quentin Tarantino`s 1997 Jackie Brown.
Throughout The Model Shop's deceptively simple story are poetic clues to its own self-knowing intentions (all of those oil wells, want ads, and so on are all well-placed and all there for good reason). In our own time of digital histrionics, The Model Shop's quiet engagement with human feeling and human imperfection comes across as fresh and alive. Its photorealist-worthy portrayal of West LA buildings, streets, and parking lots makes the Southern California cityscape as integral to the film's strength as the Mediterranean island views in L'avventura. And if the sheer unspeakable beauty of Los Angeles has ever been put on film with more loving attention than in The Model Shop, would someone please hurry up and tell me where?
The Model Shop is unforgettable cinema. A sincere thank you to Sony for making it available at last.
Now. About that "martini" marketing...
Jacques Demy's Model Shop
Carlos E. Velasquez | 09/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"French director Jacques Demy made his mark with the critically acclaimed "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964), which was nominated for three Oscars in 1966. He apparently had fond memories of California, as evidenced in "Model Shop," a delightful and honest film that not only tells a story, but also gives us a fascinating glance at the Los Angeles from the late sixties.
George Matthews (Gary Lockwood) is an unemployed young man that lives with beautiful Gloria (Alexandra Hay), who apparently cares about him. George is not a happy fellow. As Gloria rightfully tells him, he refuses to commit to anybody or anything. Unbeknown to him, his life will take a dramatic turn when he is informed that his beloved car will be taken away if he doesn't make a one-hundred dollars payment. Having no job, he is forced to hit the streets in search of money, and, while doing so, he meets Lola (Anouk Aimée), an attractive French model, which whom he is quickly infatuated. At the same time, he receives his draft notice, which would mean that he will have to go to Vietnam. All these situations complicate George's already confused existence, and he will have to make some serious choices.
Even though "Model Shop's" story seems light at times, Demy fills it with unforgettable shots of the Los Angeles of those years. George spends a lot of time driving through its streets, and for us, who live in this fascinating city, is a trip to see how it has changed with time. In addition, you just can't take your eyes away from Anouk Aimée, an actress that certainly exuded beauty and sensuality. I think that it is also remarkable that Demy addressed, in such a smart way, the controversial draft, which terrified so many young people at the time. All these elements stay with you for a while. (France/USA, 1969, color, 97 min.)
The Human Comedy continues
Neil Elliot | W. Hollywood, CA | 09/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jacques Demy's hope, when he first made LOLA, the character (and same actress Anouk Aimee) who reappears in MODEL SHOP, was to create his own Comedie Humaine....beginning with characters from LOLA reappearing in BAY OF ANGELS, and then on to UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG where one reappearing actor sings about another character he was in love with in LOLA. It would have continued into YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHFORT but Nino Castelnuovo was not available and so it was rewritten and moved out of line as Part IV. In 1968 Demy closed the circle with MODEL SHOP. Initially Demy wanted a new young actor, Harrison Ford, to play the lead, but Columbia felt a name would be better for the lead and Gary Lockwood had just done 2001. The music, done by SPIRIT, was Demy's second choice, as he had become friendly with a new rock group from UCLA, THE DOORS, but by the time the film was ready THE DOORS were world famous and time limited. However, SPIRIT created a score that compliments Demy's impressionistic view of Venice CA, W. Hollywood and Beverly Hills in the late 60's. Not as visually intense as UMBRELLAS, but as psychologically insiteful as LOLA and BAY OF ANGELS, MODEL SHOP offers the viewer a moment in time, caught in amber. For trivia enthusiasts, the actor playing Alexandra Hays' boyfriend, the actor/model Tom Fielding, left acting and became a film writer/director....PSYCHO II, CLOAK AND DAGGER, FRIGHT NIGHT, CHILD'S PLAY and a handfull of TV films of Stephen King novels.
The film is an interesting look at a very American time and place as seen by a French Americaphile film maker."