Radical Empathy: The Films of Agnès Varda

The Young Girls of Rochefort

Les demoiselles de Rochefort

Jacques DemyFrance126 minutes1967PGColourFrench

Apr 6
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    Shot in the eponymous seaside town, which was transfigured by Demy into a white-and-pastel dream world, The Young Girls of Rochefort stars Catherine Deneuve and her real-life sister Françoise Dorléac as musically inclined twin sisters Delphine and Solange, whose mother (Danielle Darrieux) pines for the memory of her former fiancé, the unfortunately named Simon Dame (Michel Piccoli). The three women and the men who desire them cross paths, fail to connect, misunderstand and misconstrue each other, but in the triumphant finale discover that love is indeed attainable. Demy's exuberant tribute to Hollywood musicals fills the widescreen frame with sisters in matching Boeing-sized bonnets, lovesick sailors in butt-hugging bell-bottoms, songs both gay and grisly (one about an axe murder), and Gene Kelly suavely embodying an American in Rochefort (he supplied his own wonderful choreography). "Masterpiece. My favourite musical" (Jonathan Rosenbaum).