Bay of Angels Screen 13 articles

Bay of Angels

1963

Bay of Angels Poster
  • The tone is mainly lighthearted and light-headed, but Demy finds some room for his customary ironies (1963).

  • The film was clearly influenced in certain particulars by Robert Bresson's Pickpocket, and in many ways it's darker than the other early Demys, even the explicitly tragicUmbrellas. Moreau gives an interesting performance despite—or is it because of?—the fact that she's dressed like a camp icon, whereas the sheer drabness of Mann's character makes him a very Demy-like exemplar of the quotidian.

  • BAY OF ANGELS is one of the most underrated and uncharacteristic films of Jacques Demy's oeuvre. It might look like his first feature, LOLA (1961), but the black-and-white 'Scope of that "musical without music" is replaced in BAY OF ANGELS with a grittier cinematography that reflects the unusual straightforwardness of Demy's rather cynical narrative.

  • Bay of Angels is Jacques (Lola) Demy's second film, and I would hate to think of sitting through its ninety minutes of ultra-philosophical roulette without Jeanne Moreau at the table with one of her most flamboyant performances... The screen crackles with white-hot irony. But then one gradually realizes that she is acting in splendid solitude, and that Bay of Angels is nothing but a piece of cinematic vaudeville — and that is where a certain type of actress finds her destiny.

  • Ostensibly the subject is gambling, but the real theme is seduction - with Moreau casting a spell on Mann that turns him every which way - and this is above all a visually seductive film.

  • Demy frames the action with enormous restraint; most of the time, you don't see the roulette wheel during a decisive spin, only the two gamblers distractedly waiting for the croupier's call. But for the cascading Michel Legrand piano score, you're not even aware the movie is a romance until the final tracking shot.

  • At once realistic and fantastical, romantic and brutal, joyous and cynical, La Baie des Anges (The Bay of Angels) suspends us in the endless spin of the roulette wheel before the ball is caught. A tale of gambling, love, seduction and obsession is laid out on the betting tables and painted on the sun-bleached promenades of the French Riviera.

  • Bay of Angels has a glorious opening shot: an iris held on Jackie opens up and the camera pulls back dizzyingly along the rain-splashed boardwalk at dawn, as Michel Legrand's lush and vivifying "roulette theme" pounds away on the soundtrack. Legrand's score is as essential to Bay of Angels as it is to Demy's all-sung The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964).

  • Demy incorporates recurring images of spinning roulette wheels and fickle changes in fortune that, not only serve to inherently correlate the volatility of the couple's relationship, but also to illustrate the implicit diurnal monotony in the thrill-seeking and artificial euphoria of their meaningless ritual (a metaphor that recalls the hedonistic vacuity of Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita).

  • The great beauty of it is the way the croupier's spiraling wheel becomes a metaphor not for life's randomness, but for its lack of permanence, its riskiness. A hardened demimondaine can bet on a number and suddenly abandon it to dash after her beloved, an ecstatic ending a few films later revealed as the cause of another heroine's melancholy.

  • My first viewing of Bay of Angels was some years ago. I remembered it as a sweeping romance between two beautiful faces, forgetting entirely that a great deal of the romance occurs not between a man and a woman, but between a woman and a roulette wheel. In Bay of Angels, Jacques Demy pares down the multitude of intertwining love stories found in Lola, relating the points of a love triangle.

  • The gambling scenes are montages cut to a quick tempo, using mostly dissolves, and pass by in a dreamlike blur... In every other scene, the takes are long and fluid, without many cuts—they have a wandering, leisurely rhythm. The alternation of styles gives the movie a tension that has nothing to do with conventional suspense. In Bay of Angels, as in no other movie about gambling, whether the players win or lose feels fundamentally irrelevant. The experience is all that matters.

  • Demy’s second feature avoids the pitfalls of flashier gambling pictures, opting for somber realism and an astute comparison between love and gambling... Jeanne Moreau delivers one of her finest performances as Jackie, the seductive Parisian who would sell her soul for another spin at the roulette table.

More Links