6 July 2003 | gortx
French New Wave Filmmaker's look at 60's L.A.
It's always interesting to see a foriegner's view of America (i.e. Antonioni's ZABRISKE POINT, Malle's ATLANTIC CITY), and here, French director Demy's look at 60's L.A.. Looking back in hindsight, it's easy to pick out the details and even cliches that Demy found so fascinating (fashion, car culture, seemingly endless stretches of buildings & lights, psychedelic music (SPIRIT), drugs, underground newspapers, counterculture ideals and, inevitably, the Vietnam War).
The nominal plot is more just a day in the life (almost exactly 24 hours) of a layabout disaffected wannabe architect (Lockwood) who is in a loveless relationship with a pretty but insubstantial young thing (Hay), who meets a mysterious French woman (Aimee). Not much "happens", but the themes and details enumerated above all weave their way into this portrait of a "day in the life."
Unfortunately, Demy selected the dull Lockwood as his lead (it strains credulity to really believe he is a talented architect). Lockwood's lack of charisma is what reportedly led Stanley Kubrick to cast him as the dull uncharismatic astronaut in 2001 (you know the old joke, the most "human" of the characters in 2001 was HAL!). Aimee, despite her French hauteur and ennui, brings the only life to the acting (the less said about Hay the better).
In sum, a tiny slice of life in late 60's L.A.. Not grand, but of some note.
Technical note. The American Cinemateque debuted a striking NEW 35MM print over the July 4th Weekend. Perhaps, this will signal a few Revival House and Film Festival Screenings, as well as a first-time on Video/DVD debut.