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Edward O Denault

Edward O Denault

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Also Known As: Died: August 21, 2010
Born: Cause of Death: heart failure
Birth Place: Profession:

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Versatile director whose films such as "Lola" (1961) are generally noted for their stylish, bittersweet yet often optimistic romanticism. Demy made several musicals, including "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964)--in which all the dialogue was sung--and worked often with actress Catherine Deneuve and composer Michel Legrand. He married fellow New Wave director Agnes Varda in 1962. Varda paid tribute to her ailing husband with the wistful, biographical "Jacquot/Jacquot de Nantes" (1991). Demy grew up in Nantes, and originally was expected to follow in his father's footsteps and trained as a mechanic. Instead, he headed into the arts. After earning a degree from L'Ecole Technique de Photographie et de Cinematographie, Demy worked on publicity films and as an assistant to animator Paul Grimault, then as assistant to director Georges Rouquier on "Lourdes et ses miracles" (1954). In 1955, he also secured the backing of Pathe for his own short film, "Le Sabotier du Val du Loire," which was a slow-paced documentary about the family of clog makers with who Demy had lived when he was a child during World War II. He made his first short fiction film "Le Bel indifferent" in 1957, based on a short play by Jean...

Versatile director whose films such as "Lola" (1961) are generally noted for their stylish, bittersweet yet often optimistic romanticism. Demy made several musicals, including "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964)--in which all the dialogue was sung--and worked often with actress Catherine Deneuve and composer Michel Legrand. He married fellow New Wave director Agnes Varda in 1962. Varda paid tribute to her ailing husband with the wistful, biographical "Jacquot/Jacquot de Nantes" (1991). Demy grew up in Nantes, and originally was expected to follow in his father's footsteps and trained as a mechanic. Instead, he headed into the arts. After earning a degree from L'Ecole Technique de Photographie et de Cinematographie, Demy worked on publicity films and as an assistant to animator Paul Grimault, then as assistant to director Georges Rouquier on "Lourdes et ses miracles" (1954). In 1955, he also secured the backing of Pathe for his own short film, "Le Sabotier du Val du Loire," which was a slow-paced documentary about the family of clog makers with who Demy had lived when he was a child during World War II. He made his first short fiction film "Le Bel indifferent" in 1957, based on a short play by Jean Cocteau. After several other short films came "Lola" in 1960, set in his own home town and starring Anouk Aimee as a beautiful, fearless nightclub singer. Though not a commercial success, "Lola" won the Prix de L'Academie du Cinema and critic Eric Rohmer called it the "most original film of the New Wave" in France. (Although technically, Demy was not a New Wave director. Having worked his way up as an assistant on other's films and not as a critic, he was considered one of the "Left Bank School" director.) Demy's next feature was "La Baie des anges/Bay of Angels" (1962), written in three days and telling the story of a bank employee who becomes fascinated with gambling and Jeanne Moreau, the woman he meets in the casino. "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," starring Catherine Denueve, followed in 1964, gaining Demy an international reputation. In the film all the dialogue is sung, amidst imaginative use of color and design. Also with Deneuve -- and her sister, Francoise Dorleac -- Demy did the all-sung "Les Demoiselles de Rochefort" (1967), but the reception was not as strong. Still, "The Young Girls of Rochefort" (as it was called in English), includes a performance by Gene Kelly whose work on the screen as a director and performer greatly influenced Demy. Demy made "Model Shop" in English, in which Anouk Aimee reappears as Lola, but then flopped with "Peau d'Ane" (1967), "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" (U.S./1972), and "A Slightly Pregnant Man" (1973). It was not until 1979 -- a six year absence -- that Demy again directed. He chose "Lady Oscar" (1979), financed by Japanese interests and based on a Japanese comic strip. He then turned to TV, directing "La Naissance du jour," a adaptation of a story by Colette. Demy bounced back in feature films in 1982, again with sung dialogue, with "Une Chambre en ville." Like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," it was about an ill-fated love affair, this time starring Dominique Sanda. Although honored with the Grand Prix du Cinema, Demy failed to impress the critics in France with the effort. His work after showed a decline in originality. "Parking" (1985), was a retelling of the Orpheus tale, and was a disappointment, even with its score by Michel Legrand. Three years later, Demy made his final film, "Trois place pour le 26." Demy can also be seen briefly in the films of other directors. He played a policeman for Francois Truffaut in "400 Blows" (1959), and also appears in "Paris nous appointment" (1960).

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