Jacquot de Nantes Screen 5 articles

Jacquot de Nantes

1991

Jacquot de Nantes Poster
  • Originally known in French as Jacquot de Nantes, this is a loving and lovely reenactment of the wonderful French New Wave director Jacques Demy's childhood in Nantes, made by his wife Agnes Varda while Demy was dying of AIDS. Brief glimpses of Demy's movies and Demy himself are craftily woven in to show us how his mainly happy childhood and his early efforts as a filmmaker and animator tended to nourish all his subsequent work.

  • [Demy's] whimsy and [Varda's] pragmatism work together in a way that must be reflective of their 28-year marriage, as their mutual respect is evident in this joint effort. Varda tastefully combines their polarizing aesthetics, and the assembled production is one that depicts Demy not as a man, but as a movie-maker. That his career is so closely paralleled with his childhood reflects Demy's lifelong enthusiasm for the artform that makes dreams a reality.

  • The narrative scenes play out mainly in black and white, but Varda shifts to color at unexpected moments, illustrating how Demy used his imagination to transform everyday life into the stuff of fantasy. She doesn't let the latter upstage the former, however; her re-creations of French life during the Nazi occupation are precise and pointedly unsentimental.

  • The autobiography Demy never got to make for himself, toggling between Demy in his last days, re-enactments of his blessed childhood in Nantes, in and out of the cinema, and footage from his own ultra-romantic filmography, the film may just be the wisest and most fervent valentine one filmmaker ever made for another. Movieness it is.

  • One would be hard-pressed to find a more poignant “cinematic love letter” than Jacquot de Nantes... A superb bildungsroman in its fictional sections, Jacquot achieves a deeper sense of reflection with strategic inserts from Demy’s films as well as intimate documents of Demy not long before his death in 1990.