25 August 2014 | gavin6942
Workers during a strike prepare and perform a demonstration, and two personal relations develop against this background. François (Richard Berry) abandons his pregnant girlfriend Violette (Fabienne Guyon, appropriately dressed in violet), and meets a very beautiful upper class girl, Edith (Dominique Sanda).
This was my first experience with Jacques Demy, and I was immediately smitten. The backdrop recalls something like "Les Miserables", based on Demy's own witnessing of a shipyard strike, though the focus here is much more on the love triangle, and Francois Guilbard is not the tragic character that Jean Valjean is (in fact, Francois is kind of a rat).
Musicals are not my favorite genre, but I think this was done right... every line sounds amazing, and it works to have it done without any speaking. The dark themes even hark back to classic operas more than the saccharine musicals of modern Hollywood. Where the plot may be less than perfect, it is made up for by the mere presence of such striking and talented actors.
Unfortunately for Demy, many consider his best years 1961-1967, with the exception of "Donkey Skin" (1970) and completely disregard this film. Despite being nominated for nine Cesars (basically the French Oscars), it won none of them.