Lola [1961]

Lola-0014/10 | 8.Mar.13
Lola

DIRECTOR: Jacques Demy | WRITER: Jacques Demy | CAST: Anouk Aimée, Mark Michel, Alan Scott, Elina Labourdette, Annie Duperoux, Jacques Harden, Margo Lion, Catherine Lutz | France

Yes, Lola was Jacques Demy’s first film so I’ll cut him some slack, but it is still incredibly sloppy, wildly amateurish, and the acting is almost uniformly bad. And did I mention that it’s whimsical? It’s so twee I could puke. Whether by design or lack of talent, Anouk Aimée does a painfully bad Marilyn Monroe impression — Lola (the character) specifically invokes Marilyn by name — but instead of coming across as sweet and dumb and innocent-sexy, Lola comes across as dull and stupid and vulgar. There are some nice bits in Lola such as the opening sequence — which was later reworked to sensational effect in the opening of La baie des anges — but the film as a whole failed to delight me. But I can’t not point out that I was intrigued by the perversely sexual flirtation between a horndog American sailor who is one of Lola’s regular johns and a girl on her 14th birthday. Where did that come from?

26.Apr.13: I just realized that I forgot to mention the Michel Legrand score. I’ve read that Lola was originally meant to be a musical, perhaps a sung-through musical on the order of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, which would go a long way to explaining the simplified, even simplistic plot structure of the film. Legrand’s quite nice score for the film may include some of the melodies originally meant to be sung, I don’t know, but a major recurring melody later became the jazz standard “Watch What Happens”.

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