Break of Day

La naissance du jour

dir. Jacques Demy

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

Skip to schedule and film credits
Set in the beautiful coastal town of Saint-Tropez, Jacques Demy's sensitive adaptation of the quasi-autobiographical novel by Colette is a perfect summer divertissement.

A perfect summer divertissement, the very rare Break of Day (which Demy made for French television) is based on the quasi-autobiographical novel by Colette, a serene, sometimes joyous meditation in which the novelist puzzles through the state in which she found herself, an older woman, traduced and misused in love, fearing that she would never be wanted again. Instead of obsessing on loss, she insists, one must accept it; at a certain age one must recognize the limits of human relationships and transfer one's attentions to nature. Filmed in Saint-Tropez, where Colette wrote her book, Demy's sensitive adaptation stars Danièle Delorme — who had played Colette's Gigi in the 1948 French film of that name — in one of her final appearances, Jean Sorel as the younger man who gives her a last chance at love, and Dominique Sanda as a beautiful young painter who is Colette's friend and rival. The music is by Mendelssohn. "Captivating due to the precision with which the melancholic theme, almost without a storyline, is condensed to an atmospheric description of a state of affairs, and with which literature is adapted in film — it is therefore anything but marginal in Demy's oeuvre" (Winfried Günther).