Lola Screen 96 of 6 reviews

Lola

1961

Lola Poster
  • If sex is evoked, particularly in the Lola-Frankie couple and the humorous reference to the Marquis de Sade’s Justine in the bookshop scene, Lola is more interested in romantic love and barely hides a deep pessimism on the topic (hence the frequent use of the term bittersweet in describing the film). Lola is above all a reflection on the fragility of love, expressed through the transient nature of each character’s trajectory—almost everyone is on the move, recently arrived, or about to leave.

  • The Ophüls question ("Quelle heure est-il?") is always in the air, along with the tilting, craning and tracking that link and sever feelings. "There’s happiness in simply wanting happiness," sighs Lola, who’s rewarded with an only-in-the-movies happy ending that barely skirts feyness thanks to Demy’s triste-harlequin understanding that one character’s happiness might be another’s melancholy.

  • Now, having re-watched this film after some three years, everything that I once found petulant and irritating is now sweetly idealistic and romantic. And Lola, with her wide-eyed exuberance (a far cry from Anouk's stern scorned wife in 8 ½), is a firefly, lighting up the screen with her charm, always moving, gasping. At times she teeters on the brink of becoming annoying, but Aimee manages to ground the character in a true depth of feeling.

  • Its breezy tone, narrative coincidences, circling camera, and overall brio suggest a certain superficiality, but at its heart lies a wistful awareness that happiness in love is both transient and largely dependent on chance. Very beautifully shot, in widescreen and luminous black-and-white, it is also formally astonishing, with all the minor characters serving as variations on the central couple.

  • Jacques Demy's first and in some ways best feature (1961), shot in exquisite black-and-white 'Scope by Raoul Coutard, is among the most neglected major works of the French New Wave. . . . Chock-full of film references (to The Blue Angel, Breathless, Hollywood musicals, the work of Max Ophuls, etc) and lyrically shot in Nantes, the film is a camera stylo love letter, and Michel Legrand's lovely score provides ideal nostalgic accompaniment.

  • In between café blah-blah and wistful set pieces, Lola toys with a blatantly underdeveloped criminal subplot, but Demy is far more interested in evoking the excitement of first love and old movies than orchestrating a shoot-’em-up. The sailors on leave have their own On the Town moves and Michel Legrand’s score bubbles up under the most banal interactions. Like a Hollywood fairy tale, Lola is always threatening to turn into a musical. Its edge comes from the fact that it never quite does.

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