Model Shop (1969)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

France/USA, 1969.  Columbia Pictures Corporation.  Screenplay by Jacques Demy, English dialogue by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Jacques Demy. Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

We reunite with Anouk Aimee‘s Lola from the film of the same name when, nine years later, she catches the eye of while walking the streets of Los Angeles.  He’s in a bad place in his life given that his girlfriend no longer wants to deal with his commitment-phobia, his willingly quitting his job as an architect has left him without money, and his beloved car is going to be repossessed if he does not come up with one hundred dollars by the end of the day. Aimee’s appearance is almost dream-like escapism, which is actually her job given that she works in a “model shop” where girls pose for boudoir photos by the hour that the clients can then develop and keep for their own pleasure.  Lockwood snaps a few images of his new obsession before convincing her to have a drink with him, his prospects looking much dimmer halfway through the day when he gets news that has put his future in a completely new light.  Performed rather passively by a cast who are in tune with director Jacques Demy’s own lack of desire to get anywhere in a hurry, the film sees the usually optimistic director feeling a downcast chill, moving away from the bouncy bustle of Paris, city of lovers, and setting this one in the presumably cultureless cool of L.A. where the only ones looking to do something meaningful are the hippies who are fast becoming a thing of the past.  It’s war in the headlines and bodies for sale on the streets, and you can look for love but all you’ll find is regret; it’s a moment in time and the performers are at their physical peak, but it’s also somewhat boring.

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