The Essential Jacques Demy Criterion Collection
For many years, when people would think about the French New Wave film movement that revolutionized the world of cinema in the late 1950s, their thoughts would drift to the most famous names — Godard, Truffaut, Rivette, Chabrol, Resnais and others. One name that rarely came up in the conversation, however, was that of Jacques Demy. Even though he was making films during that time and achieved some degree of international success, many observers considered his contributions to be either too tangential or too dependent on Hollywood traditions and his own self-created cinematic universe to fully embrace the formal radicalism of the movement. In fact, when he was discussed as part of the New Wave, it was often because of his marriage to Agnes Varda, a filmmaker whose work was more firmly entrenched as part of the approach, and that semi-snubbing continued until he passed away in 1990 at the age of 59.

In the years since his passing, however, there has been a gradual reappraisal of Demy's cinematic legacy, spurred on in no small part by the efforts of Varda, who has helped to keep the flame alive by supervising restorations and reissues of his films as well as directing both "Jacquot de Nantes," a 1991 biopic focused on his early years, and the 1995 documentary "The World of Jacques Demy." Now The Criterion Collection has gotten into the act with "The Essential Jacques Demy," a mammoth box set that includes restored versions of six of his best-known features — "Lola" (1961), "Bay of Angels" (1963), "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964), "The Young Girls of Rochefort" (1967), "Donkey Skin" (1970) and "Une Chambre En Ville" (1982) — a slew of extras spanning the length of his career, including shorts, documentaries and archival interviews with Demy and many of his key collaborators. The end result is one of the major home video releases of the year and a project that should finally restore Demy's place as one of the leading lights of the New Wave.

Lola 1961 Criterion Collection
Lola – Demy’s reserved debut feature feels quaint in comparison to the rest of the films found here, but a few of the director’s trademarks were visible from the get-go. Two lovelorn men circle a beautiful cabaret singer — the titular Lola (Anouk Aimee) — and vie for her affection; all the while she pines for her long-absent, fortune-seeking boyfriend (also the father of her little boy.) The characters’ stories cross over in clever ways, and with multiple dancing scenes and a charming song number that foreshadows the filmmaker’s later work. The most impressive aspect of this film, however, may be that it exists in this condition at all; the original negatives for Lola were destroyed long ago in a fire, and the remaining prints were worn-out to the point they were almost unwatchable. The movie underwent a lengthy and advanced restoration process, which is well-chronicled in the disc’s extra features; the before and after comparisons are like night and day.

Extras:

Trailer - original trailer for the 2012 restoration of Lola. With short comments by Tom Burton (Technical Restoration Services) and Agnes Varda. In French and English, with optional English subtitles where necessary. (2 min, 1080p).

Anouk Aimee - presented here are excerpts from two video interviews with Anouk Aimee conducted by Agnes Varda, one from 1995 and another from 2012. The French actress recalls how she was approached to play Lola and explains what makes her character unique. In French, with optional English subtitles. (4 min, 1080p).

Lola's Song - in this video interview from 2008, Agnes Varda recalls how she wrote Lola's song, C'est moi, c'est Lola. Also included are clips from archival interviews with Michel Legrand and Anouk Aimee. In French, with optional English subtitles. (4 min, 1080p).

Restoration Demonstration - this featurette focuses on the recent restoration (2012) of Lola. Included with it are visual comparisons and excellent comments by Agnes Varda, Mathieu Demy, and Tom Burton addressing the restoration and reconstruction of the film. In English and French, with optional English subtitles where necessary. (11 min, 1080p).

Les Horizons Morts (1951) - presented here is Jacques Demy's first short film about a young man who can't stop thinking about a girl that has left him. The young man is played by Jacques Demy. Music only. (9 min, 1080i).

Le sabotier du Val de Loire (1956) - Jacques Demy's second short film is about an elderly clog maker in the Loire Valley. The film is narrated by Georges Rouquier. In French, with optional English subtitles. (24 min, 1080i).

Ars (1959) - a short film by Jacques Demy about a priest who lived a simple life in the village of Ars. In French, with optional English subtitles. (17 min, 1080i).

La Luxure (1962) - Jacques Demy directed this short film in 1962 for the omnibus The Seven Deadly Sins (which also featured shorts by Eugene Ionesco, Philippe de Broca, Claude Chabrol, Sylvain Dhomme, Max Douy, Jean-Luc Godard, Edouard Molinaro, and Roger Vadim). In it two friends discuss their definitions of lechery. With Jean-Louis Trintignant, Laurent Terzieff, Micheline Presle, and Jean Dessailly. Music by Michel Legrand. In French, with optional English subtitles. (15 min, 1080p).

Bay of Angels 1963 Criterion Collection
Bay of Angels – Demy’s second feature is surprisingly realistic in contrast with the overt stylization in his later films, but it’s one of the director’s most emotionally resonant works. Shot in black and white (like Lola) against a backdrop of France’s lavish, coastal casinos, the film stars Jeanne Moreau as a gorgeous gambling addict, and Claude Mann as a clean-cut young man who falls under her hypnotic spell. As you can imagine, he gets roped into her life of risks, and their story takes several heartbreaking turns.

Extras:

Trailer - original trailer for the recent restoration of Bay of Angels. In French, with optional English subtitles. (2 min, 1080p).

Cinepanorama - presented here is a video interview with Jeanne Moreau which was used in an episode of the French television program Cinepanorama in 1962. The French actress discusses her fears and insecurities, the character she plays in Bay of Angels, and some of her reactions to (film) criticism. In French, with optional English subtitles. (14 min, 1080p).

Marie Colmant - in this new video interview, journalist Marie Colmant, coauthor of the book Jacques Demy, discusses the French director's affection for outcasts (and specifically female outcasts). The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in 2013. In English, not subtitled. (11 min, 1080p).

Restoration Demonstration - this featurette focuses on the recent restoration (2012) of Bay of Angels. Included with it are visual comparisons and excellent comments by Rosalie Varda-Demy, Agnes Varda, Herve Pichard (restoration projects/Cinematheque francaise), Mathieu Demy, Jerome Bigueur (digital restoration), and Leon Rousseau (sound restoration). In French, with optional English subtitles. (6 min, 1080p).

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 1964 Criterion Collection
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – The de facto centerpiece of this box set and easily Demy’s best-known film, Umbrellas was a movie in dire need of a high definition makeover; it packs as much color into every shot as your average Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper. The colors pop amazingly in this HD transfer, and Cherbourg’s star, Catherine Deneuve, is equally vibrant (read: yowza!) The movie’s famous gimmick—it’s a musical where every single line is sung—will either go down like sugar or feel sickeningly sweet, depending on the type of viewer. Admittedly, it took some getting used to, but the characters are so charming, and the plot—about lovers separated when the young man is shipped off to battle—is so straight-forward that the sung dialogue stopped odd by a few scenes in.

Extras:

Trailer - trailer for the new restoration of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. In French, with imposed English subtitles. (2 min, 1080p).

Once Upon a Time... The Umbrellas of Cherbourg - this wonderful 2008 documentary film by Marie Genin and Serge July focuses on the production history of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and its timeless appeal. The documentary contains clips from archival interviews with Jacques Demy, composer Michel Legrand, director Agnes Varda, costume designer Jacqueline Moreau, director Bernard Toublanc-Michel (Singapore, Singapore; Evil Pleasure), and Catherine Deneuve, amongst others. The documentary also appears on StudioCanal's release. In English and French, with optional English subtitles where necessary. (55 min, 1080p).

Rodney Hill - in this new video interview, film scholar Rodney Hill (Lawrence Herbert School of Communication/Hofstra University) discusses the New Wave and traditional French qualities of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and the evolution of Jacques Demy's directing style after Lola. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in 2014. In English, not subtitled. (23 min, 1080p).

Cinepanorama - presented here is an archival interview with director Jacques Demy and legendary composer Michel Legrand, which was conducted for the French television program Cinepanorama in 1964. The French director explains how The Umbrellas of Cherbourg came to exist and talks about his relationship with Agnes Varda, while Michel Legrand discusses the film's unique score. In French, with optional English subtitles. (12 min, 1080p).

Michel Legrand at the National Film Theatre - presented here is an audio excerpt from 1991 in which Michel Legrand discusses his musical career, the impact the works of different classical composers had on his style, and his collaborations with Jacques Demy. In English, not subtitled. (27 min, 1080p).

Catherine Deneuve at the National Film Theatre - presented here is an audio excerpt from 1983 in which Catherine Deneuve explains how she became an actress, and discusses her work with Jacques Demy on The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and the film's unique score. In English, not subtitled. (12 min, 1080p).

Restoration Demonstration - an in-depth look at the new 2K restoration of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Included here are short comments by Agnes Varda, Rosalie Varda-Demy, director Mathieu Demy, and Thierry Delannoy (from Digimage), as well as before-and-after comparisons. In French, with optional English subtitles. (7 min).

The Young Girls of Rochefort 1967 Criterion Collection
The Young Girls of Rochefort – If Umbrellas’ sung dialogue felt too strange or off-putting, The Young Girls of Rochefort should be a serviceable middle ground. It’s a musical in the most traditional sense, where the characters break into song (and pretty often, dance) separately from their spoken dialogue. Catherine Deneuve stars again, this time with her sister Francoise Dorleac. They play siblings, bored with their lives in the modest, port village of Rochefort. A fair comes to town, and they befriend a pair of carnival workers who are putting together a show. Over the course of a weekend, the girls meet and fall for their ideal men; but, their romances don’t necessarily play out according to plan. The Young Girls of Rochefort is fun and romantic, with a few great pop numbers, and is no less colorful than the ultra-bright Umbrellas of Cherbourg; there’s a performance near the film’s end that may be, well, the pink-est scene in all of cinema.

Extras:

Trailer - original trailer for the 2K restoration of The Young Girls of Rochefort. In French, with optional English subtitles. (2 min, 1080p).

Cinema - presented here is an archival interview from a 1966 episode of the French television program Cinema in which director Jacques Demy and composer Michel Legrand discuss the music of The Young Girls of Rochefort, some of the key differences between The Young Girls of Rochefort and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and some of the dilemmas composers face when scoring a film. In French, with optional English subtitles. (11 min, 1080p).

Jean-Pierre Bethome and Jacqueline Moreau - film scholar Jean-Pierre Berthome talks to costume designer Jacqueline Moreau, the wife of production designer Bernard Evein, about her and her husband's friendship and collaborations with Jacques Demy. (In Paris, Jacqueline Moreau, Bernard Evein, and Jacques Demy also became good friends with many of the Cahiers du Cinema writers/directors). Jacqueline Moreau explains how the different costumes for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg were chosen and created and how specific wallpapers were printed for key sequences from the film, and discusses some of the challenges The Young Girls of Rochefort presented. (Apparently, Jacques Demy wanted to have more pastel colors to contrast with The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). The conversation was recorded exclusively for Criterion in 2013. In French, with optional English subtitles. (26 min, 1080p).

Behind the Screen - in 1966, documentary filmmaker Andre Delvaux made a six-part series about the production of The Young Girls of Rochefort for the Belgian television program Behind the Screen. Presented here is episode two, which features Bernard Evein discussing designs for the film. The episode also features plenty of raw footage from the dance rehearsals and shooting sessions. In French, English, and Dutch, with optional English subtitles where necessary. (35 min, 1080p).

The Young Girls Turn 25 a.k.a. The Demoiselles Turned 25 is a documentary film by Agnes Varda which offers an in-depth look at the production history of Jacques Demy's beloved film. Director Agnes Varda and Catherine Deneuve visit many of the locations in Rochefort where the film was shot, while various cast and crew members discuss their contribution to it. The Young Girls Turn 25 was restored in 2K by Digimage in 2013. Agnes Varda supervised the color grading. In French, with optional English subtitles (67 min, 1080p).

Donkey Skin 1970 Criterion Collection
Donkey Skin – A surprising, fantasy-based departure from Demy’s small coastal towns. Adapted from a French fairy tale, Catherine Deneuve this time plays a princess who flees to hide among peasants when her father, the ruler of a kingdom where most everything (and everyone) is blue, proposes to marry her after the death of her mother. She’s spotted in the forest by a prince from the nearby red kingdom, who becomes absolutely smitten by the mysterious girl. Donkey Skin is a musical—though, to a lesser degree than Rochefort and (of course) Umbrellas—and far and away embraces the surrealist elements of Demy’s style to the highest degree. (Think: backwards footage, or a helicopter showing up at a 17th Century wedding.) This isn’t the strongest film in the boxed set, but it’s certainly enjoyable for its bizarre imagery alone.

Extras:

Pour le cinema - presented here is a segment from a 1970 episode of the French television program Pour le cinema, in which Jacques Demy, Catherine Deneuve, Jean Marais, and Jacques Perrin discuss some of the unique qualities of Charles Perrault's popular fairy tale. Also included is raw footage from the shooting of Donkey Skin. In French, with optional English subtitles. (12 min, 1080p).

"Donkey Skin" Illustrated - this short French program from 2008 examines different illustrated editions of Charles Perrault's popular fairy tale. In French, with optional English subtitles. (12 min, 1080p).

"Donkey Skin" and the Thinkers - presented here is a filmed discussion with critic Camille Taboulay, psychoanalysts Lucille Durrmeyer and Jean-Claude Polack, and seventeenth-century literature specialist Liliane Picciola. The four participants discuss Jacques Demy's unusual adaptation of Donkey Skin, and the key relationships in the film (and specifically the "booby traps", as described by Jacques Demy, that can be discovered throughout the film), the themes of incest and love, etc. The discussion was filmed in 2008. In French, with optional English subtitles. (17 min, 1080i).

Jacques Demy at the American Film Institute - a collection of excerpted audio recordings from 1971 in which Jacques Demy discusses his directing methods, his collaborations with Michel Legrand and Catherine Deneuve, his passion for cinema, etc. In English, not subtitled. (43 min).

Une Chambre en Ville 1982 Criterion Collection
Une Chambre En Ville – The set’s final film, shot 12 years after 1970’s Donkey Skin. Demy falls back on the same gimmick he used in his beloved Umbrellas of Cherbourg, in that every line in the film is once again sung. Unlike Umbrellas, Demy’s colors are much more realistic; almost jarringly so, compared to the previous films in this set. Yellows, pinks, and reds are replaced with drab grays and brown, perhaps to make the color palette more appropriate for the film’s pretty serious subject matter: protesting, prostitution, impotence, unplanned pregnancy, murder, and suicide. This all comes together in a way that never really seems to work, but it’s interesting nonetheless to close out the set with the filmmaker’s last big work, especially when it’s so easy to trace it back to his earlier musicals and see how his approach developed over the decades.

Extras:

Trailer - original trailer for the new restoration of Une Chambre en Ville. In French, with optional English subtitles. (2 min, 1080p).

Restoration Demonstration - this featurette focuses on the recent restoration (2013) of Une Chambre en Ville. Included with it are visual comparisons and excellent comments by Mathieu Demy, Thierry Delannoy (restoration department/Digimage-Classics Film Lab), Rosalie Varda-Demy, Jerome Bigueur, and Christelle Vinchon. In French, with optional English subtitles. (6 min, 1080p).

The World of Jacques Demy - presented here is Agnes Varda's 1995 documentary about the life and career of Jacques Demy. Included in it are numerous archival interviews with many of the late French's director's collaborators. The film was restored in 2K by Digimage-Classics in 2013. In French, with optional English subtitles. (92 min, 1080p).

Jacques Demy, A to Z - this wonderful new visual essay takes a close look at the cinematic world of Jacques Demy, his maturation as a director and the evolution of his style, and some of the unique themes in his films. The essay was created by film scholar James Quandt in 2014. In English, not subtitled. (62 min, 1080p).

Jacques Demy at the Midnight Sun Film Festival - presented here is an archival Q&A session from the 1987 Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankyla, Finland, in which director Jacques Demy discusses his cultural background and explains how and why his films reflect bits of his personality, how they came to exist, etc. The session was moderated by Peter von Bagh. In French and Finnish, with optional English subtitles where necessary. (17 min, 1080i).

6xBD50 + 7xDVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 573 minutes
Language: Francais
Subtitles: English
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Musical, Family, Fantasy

Download The Essential Jacques Demy: Lola (1961), La baie des anges / Bay of Angels (1963), Les parapluies de Cherbourg / The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), Les demoiselles de Rochefort / The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), Peau d'ane / Donkey Skin (1970), Une chambre en ville / A Room in Town (1982) 7 x DVD9 and 6 x Blu-Ray Criterion Collection:

Essential.Demy.1961.Lola.BluRay.L.part01.rar
Essential.Demy.1961.Lola.BluRay.L.part02.rar
Essential.Demy.1961.Lola.BluRay.L.part03.rar
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Essential.Demy.1963.Bay.of.Angels.BluRay.L.part1.rar
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Essential.Demy.1964.Umbrellas.of.Cherbourg.BluRay.L.part01.rar
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Essential.Demy.1967.Young.Girls.of.Rochefort.BluRay.L.part01.rar
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Essential.Demy.1970.Donkey.Skin.BluRay.L.part01.rar
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Essential.Demy.1982.Une.Chambre.En.Ville.BluRay.L.part01.rar
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Essential.Demy.1961.Lola.DVD.L.part1.rar
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Essential.Demy.1963.Bay.of.Angels.DVD.L.part1.rar
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Essential.Demy.1964.Umbrellas.of.Cherbourg.DVD.L.part1.rar
Essential.Demy.1964.Umbrellas.of.Cherbourg.DVD.L.part2.rar

Essential.Demy.1967.Young.Girls.of.Rochefort.DVD.L.part1.rar
Essential.Demy.1967.Young.Girls.of.Rochefort.DVD.L.part2.rar

Essential.Demy.1970.Donkey.Skin.DVD.L.part1.rar
Essential.Demy.1970.Donkey.Skin.DVD.L.part2.rar

Essential.Demy.1982.Une.Chambre.En.Ville.DVD.L.part1.rar
Essential.Demy.1982.Une.Chambre.En.Ville.DVD.L.part2.rar

Essential.Demy.Bonus.DVD.L.part1.rar
Essential.Demy.Bonus.DVD.L.part2.rar

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