Radical Empathy: The Films of Agnès Varda

Model Shop

Jacques DemyUSA / France92 minutes1969PGColourFrench

Apr 8
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Demy's only American film updates the fate of Lola (Anouk Aimée), the heroine of the director's first feature, who has moved to Los Angeles and now works in a "model shop" where lonely men go to snap racy photos of beautiful women. Gary Lockwood, of 2001: A Space Odyssey (replacing Demy's original star, a pre-fame Harrison Ford), plays a would-be architect and imminent draftee who pursues Lola like some holy grail through the City of Angels. Misunderstood or dismissed upon its release, Model Shop shows a fine outsider's sense of atmosphere: L.A.'s fractured topography of beach, canyon, and low-rise metropolis, the pastel model shop with its labyrinth of back rooms, the lambent languor of the Strip at twilight. Aimée is supernal as the lost and longing Lola, Lockwood surprisingly fine as the architect who admires urban geometry but cannot find a design for his inchoate emotion. "One of the great movies about L.A." (Geoff Andrew, Time Out Film Guide).