The model shop

Poster The model shop

Los Angeles, 1968. Just before he leaves for Vietnam, George, a penniless young man, has 24 hours to find 100$ to keep his only possession, a sports car. He meets Lola, a young woman who poses for erotic photos and falls in love with her.

In the middle of May 1968, Jacques Demy flies to the US to honor a commission from Columbia, but instead of the expected Hollywood musical comedy, he delivers a desperate poem about lost love, youth haunted by death, and finding shelter in fantasy. What could have just been a "Lola in Los Angeles" (Anouk Aimée replays her character 10 years later) becomes a snapshot of an era, a disenchanted heart gripping 24 hour trip. A worldwide flop, it is however the most Antonionian of Demy's films, his hidden masterpiece.

Model shop.

Color - 93mn - Original version with French subtitles
France / USA.
Direction: Jacques Demy.
Production: Jacques Demy.
Screenplay: Jacques Demy.
Editing: Walter Thompson.
Photography: Michel Hugo.
Music by: Spirit.
With: Anouk Aimée, Gary Lockwood, Alexandra Hay, Carol Cole.
Pierre Bordage

From Jacques Demy, I only knew his big musical successes, but then I was commissioned to work on a show on this director originally from Nantes director, which led me to watch his entire filmography, and so to discover his first shorts and his lesser-known films. Model Shop was one of them. It's described as his American film, but out of all his works, there is no doubt that this is the one which was the most influenced by the Nouvelle Vague. A minimalist script, the wanderings of two characters through the streets of Los Angeles, a barely developed encounter between Lola, played by Anouk Aimée, in a character that Demy had already directed in the eponymous film Lola (1961) and George, (Gary Lockwood) who must soon leave for Vietnam. The dreams she had in Lola (finding Michel) are long lost , and she poses for erotic photos to fund her ticket home back to Paris. George is losing both his girlfriend and his car and sees the sinister perspective of Vietnam looming ahead. Their two trajectories will brush against each other without really meeting. Communicating through interposed lens, where desire is delusive, the characters pursue the ephemeral, the unattainable, in this tentacular city where the deceitful euphoria on the late 60s reigns, and where the era's short lived enchantment is already fading, where the shadows of disillusion are growing, as is the melancholy so induced. Overall, a film about abeyance. Incidentally, the project Jacques Demy and his Work on which I was working, never saw the light of day.

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