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By Lindsey Bahr
Updated July 18, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

Your Guide To Jacques Demy
Plunge into the dreamscapes of the idiosyncratic French director, whose six best films have been restored in a beautiful new Criterion collection

Jacques Demy in Six Key Films
Lola (1961)
Destinies intertwine in the seaside town of Nantes, where the beguiling cabaret singer (and single mom) Lola (Anouk Aimée) awaits the return of a lost beau.

Bay of Angels (1963)
Jean (Claude Mann) falls for Jackie (Jeanne Moreau), a divorcée addicted to gambling, as they casino-hop around the French Riviera.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
An explosion of color and music. Catherine Deneuve stars as a shopgirl in love with a mechanic (Nino Castelnuovo) who’s just been drafted.

The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
Deneuve and her real-life sister, Françoise Dorléac, sing and dance in a small town alongside Gene Kelly and George Chakiris.

Donkey Skin (1970)
Demy’s surrealist retelling of a 17th-century fairy tale features Deneuve as a princess who flees the kingdom when her father tries to marry her.

Une Chambre en Ville (1982)
The darkest of Demy’s movies, this tragic story of love and class unrest is told against the backdrop of a workers’ strike in Nantes.

An Autobiographical thread runs through his work
He grew up in Nantes Set movies at the seaside with many sailors

He lived through WWII Often referenced WWII and Algerian and Vietnam wars

His papa was a mechanic, mama a hairdresser Wrote lots of characters who fix cars and hair

People Who Influenced Him
Jean Cocteau, Robert Bresson, Gene Kelly, Robert Wise

People He Influenced
Baz Luhrmann, Wes Anderson, Lars von Trier, Paul Thomas Anderson

Fun Fact!
Demy wanted Harrison Ford for his first Hollywood film, 1969’s Model Shop (which he later called ”Model Flop”), but a studio suit said Ford had no future as an actor and nixed him. Demy cast Gary Lockwood instead.

He Paid Homage to His Favorite Movies
He dedicated Lola to Max Ophüls, director of Lola Montès

In Lola, Demy uses a photo of star Elina Labourdette that’s actually a still of her in Robert Bresson’s Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne

He cast Singin’ in the Rain‘s Gene Kelly and West Side Story‘s George Chakiris in The Young Girls of Rochefort

5 Oscar Nominations
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964-65)
Best Foreign Language Film, Best Screenplay Best Score, Best Original Song

The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
Best Score