Bay of Angels (1963)

Bay of Angels (La baie des anges)
Directed by Jacques Demy
Written by Jacques Demy
1963/France
Sud-Pacifique Films
First viewing/Netflix rental

 

There are many harsh lessons to be learned from the gambling experience, but the harshest one of all is the difference between having Fun and being Smart. Hunter S. Thompson

Jacques Demy makes a fun film about the intersection between addiction and love.

Jean (Claude Mann) is a staid young bank employee.  When his colleague Caron buys a flashy new car, he discovers that it is funded by gambling winnings.  Caron has been forced to sell the car the next day and insists that Jean accompany him to the casino to try to recoup his losses.  Jean is reluctant but complies.  He turns 5,000 francs into 400,000 and is hooked.

He now has enough to spend his summer holiday on the Riveria. He meets up with beautiful compulsive gambler Jackie and they begin to win big.

Winnings in Cannes fuel a high-life sojourn at Monte Carlo.  Their fortunes at gambling and love careen wildly.  It is clear that Jackie’s real passion is for the roulette table.  Can love last?

I enjoyed watching this though I never bought into the relationship.  It was really nice to see real life on the sun-kissed Riviera during the period and Moreau is charming as a platinum blonde playing against type while dressed to the nines in Pierre Cardin fashions.  The Michel Legrand score is a plus as always.

Restoration Trailer

Scorpio Rising (1963)

Scorpio Rising
Directed by Kenneth Anger
Written by Ernest B. Glucksman
1963/USA
Puck Film Productions
First viewing/YouTube
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

 

[on unemployed filmmakers] It seems much easier for these people to rent my films, look at them and make notes, than to give them a job. — Kenneth Anger

By far the best part of this gay-Nazi-biker experimental short is the music.

Filmmaker Kenneth Anger made friends with some Brooklyn bikers and made this homo-erotic film.  The bikers are shown fondling their bikes, provocatively dressing up in leather, and indulging in “party games”.  There’s a lot of flashy cutting between these images and such things as a Lutheran Sunday School movie about the life of Christ.

Along with the film, there is a version with Kenneth Anger’s commentary on YouTube.  I thought this was more interesting than the film itself.  In it, the director claims that these guys came up with all this stuff themselves.  He also implies that they did this in front of their girlfriends.  I don’t believe it for a minute.  On the other hand, the whole thing is accompanied by some great, lively hit songs of the early sixties.  That’s the part I liked. Oh, and it’s less than half an hour long.  Certainly missable.