Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Italy/France, 1982. Progefi, TF1 Films Production, Top n°1, Union Generale Cinematographique. Screenplay by Jacques Demy. Cinematography by Jean Penzer. Produced by Christine Gouze-Renal. Music by Michel Colombier. Production Design by Bernard Evein. Costume Design by Rosalie Varda. Film Editing by Sabine Mamou. The Criterion Collection.
Jacques Demy looks to recapture the glory days of Umbrellas of Cherbourg with another chamber piece in which there are no musical numbers but all the dialogue is completely sung. This time the centre of action is not an umbrella shop but an apartment in Nantes, where Danielle Darrieux lives in fear of the shipyard strikes of 1955 that are happening right outside her window. One of her tenants is a worker involved in the strike, engaged to a pretty young lass named Violette but also romancing Darrieux’s sexually wayward daughter (Dominique Sanda), who parades around the film wearing a fur coat and nothing else. Trouble arrives in the form of Sanda’s jealous husband (Michel Piccoli), a television repairman who falls into jealous rages and will not stop pursuing her despite her many attempts to leave him. The musical is pulled off with Demy’s usual light touch, but the music is composed by Michel Colombier, an obvious inferior to the director’s usual collaborator Michel Legrand, and the story is spent for the most part just killing time. Darrieux seems to be in no way important to the plot except to be insulted by the younger people around her, making for a lush but somewhat stilted venture.