Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Roland, a young waster from Nantes, spends his time falling in and out of casual employment, always wishing for something better. While leaving his favourite café, Roland accidentally bumps into Lola, a girl he had known as a teenager. The two exchange pleasantries and arrange to meet that evening at a ‘theatre’, where Roland discovers his childhood friend is now a cabaret dancer and chanteuse. In his lonely, disheartened state, Roland falls badly for Lola, hanging on her every word and arranging further rendezvous. Meanwhile, Lola is engaged in a somewhat lacklustre affair with American sailor Frankie, a poor substitute for Michel, her former lover and father to her son. The unspoken love triangle completely collapses when Michel returns out of the blue, determined to prove himself a decent father.

Director Jacques Demy had originally planned for Lola to be a Technicolor musical (he later found an outlet in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), but his budget was purportedly so low that he couldn’t even afford a proper sound crew, let alone a roster of flashy musical numbers. The film suffers terribly as a result – by simply removing most of the music to suit his restrictions, Demy accidentally creates a microcosm of disinterest. Save for adolescent gamine Cécile, the characters are unconvincing and one-dimensional without musical exposition. Lola in particular is far less intriguing than she ought to be, her self-indulgent manipulation of men more reprehensible than defensible. Notable in the context of French cinematic history, but of little interest otherwise.

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