Lola (1961)

Lola
Directed by Jacques Demy
Written by Jacques Demy
1961/Italy/France
Rome Paris Films

First viewing/Netflix rental
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Life is a cabaret old chum … — “Cabaret”, lyrics by Fred Ebb

Refreshing proof that the French New Wave didn’t need to take itself so deadly seriously.

The plot is about first love and cycles through many examples, making it somewhat convoluted to summarize but not too hard to understand.

Roland Cassard is bored and chronically late for work.  He thinks he needs to see the world and when he is fired, he seeks employment with a shady hairdresser who needs someone to travel for him.  In the meantime, Roland meets a 14-year-old named Celine and her mother and, more importantly, another Celine, who was a childhood sweetheart. She is now a cabaret dancer who calls herself Lola (Anouk Aimee).  He falls in love with her but she is still in love with her first love, the father of her child.

The main clientele of the cabaret is American sailors.  One is infatuated with Lola.  He befriends the young Celine who falls in love with him.  Events continue to spiral.

This movie is a lot of fun.  It is stylish without being in any way meta or pretentious. The restoration looks stunning.  I had not expected the Michel LeGrande score, the theme of which became a hit – “Watch What Happens”.

Restoration trailer

6 thoughts on “Lola (1961)

  1. Well the lost theme for this is such a no brainer that it’s not even worth posting LOL. Gotta be in the 1001 pop classics ya gotta hear before ya check out!

  2. Yes, this is a lot better than its pretext. I found myself first a bit confused, but then liking it more and more, even the ending which actually feels right. You are right that this could have gone terribly pretentious, but it stays above that and that gives it a lot of points in my book.
    I and done with 61 and you cannot have much left either.

    • I loved the way it moved in a circle without feeling forced at all. Yes, I’m eager to start 1962. Have about a week to go.

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