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Last on

Fri 20 Jul 2012 23:30 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 14 July 2011

For many cinema-goers, it's not the music of The Beatles but the films of Jacques Demy that define the '60s. The poet Sarah Cuddon's love for them developed a generation later.

In collaboration with the composer Michel Legrand, Demy re-invented musical-cinema, and introduced whimsical ideas such as having all the dialogue sung and the design colour-coded in pastel pinks, blues and yellows.'

The heart-breaking romance 'Les Parapluies de Cherbourg' starred Catherine Deneuve and its more playful sequel, 'Les Desmoiselles de Rochefort', paired her with her sister Francoise Dorleac, as well as George Chakiris and Gene Kelly. These films were described as being 'en couleurs et en chante'. And their tales of love lost and found retain the power enchant still.

Will Gregory, one half of the pop duo Goldfrapp, is a huge fan, as is the poet Sean Street who was living in Paris when 'Les Desmoiselles' was released in the summer of 1967 shortly after Dorleac's tragic death in a car crash. Geoff Andrew of the British Film Institute places these films in context and Sarah Cuddon evokes Demy's bringing of Hollywood to these French Atlantic resorts.

The programme also includes contributions from archive by Catherine Deneuve, Michel Legrand and the late Jacques Demy himself.

Producer: Alan Hall
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4.


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