The Young Girls of Rochefort

Les demoiselles de Rochefort

dir. Jacques Demy

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Catherine Deneuve and her real-life sibling Françoise Dorléac star as musically inclined twin sisters on the lookout for love in Jacques Demy's exuberant tribute to Hollywood musicals.

"Masterpiece. My favourite musical" (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader). Shot in a seaside town transfigured into a Demy dream world with white and pastel buildings and a charming square (40,000 square metres of Rochefort's facades had to be repainted to achieve the colour scheme), The Young Girls of Rochefort stars Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac (Deneuve's real-life sister, who died in a car accident shortly after the completion of shooting) as musically inclined twin sisters Delphine and Solange, whose mother Yvonne (Danielle Darrieux) pines for the memory of her former fiancé, the unfortunately named Simon Dame (Michel Piccoli). The three women, and the men who desire them, cross paths, fail to connect, misunderstand and misconstrue each other, but in the triumphant finale, as in a Handel opera, discover that love is indeed attainable. Demy's exuberant tribute to Hollywood musicals fills the widescreen frame with sisters in matching Boeing-sized bonnets, lovesick sailors in butt-hugging bell-bottoms, songs both gay and grisly (one about an axe murder), a dinner party in which the conversation flows in a ceaseless stream of Alexandrines, and Gene Kelly suavely embodying An American in Rochefort (he supplied his own wonderful choreography). Lush, lovely, light-hearted, afloat on a cloud of tulle and rue, The Young Girls of Rochefort is its own Easter parade.