Archive for September 4th, 2011

by James Clark

A carnival/trade show hits the sleepy port town of Rochefort, and, from the modest local talent pool, twin sisters, “Delphine” and “Solange,” are enlisted to stand in for a couple of girls who’ve traded in their poetic trappings for marriage with a couple of sailors from the military base there. They get their hands on a pair of red-sequined dresses straight out of the first scene of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and belt out an anthem that, though somewhat inchoate, somehow reaches us as rare and essential. Prior to this magic moment, the girls had done a lot of chirping and fluttering to the effect that they were way too good for this dump—“We’re not going to rot here!”—and now they were on the eve of their taking Paris by storm. Hence their approach to this gig conspicuously lacked sparkle, a tepidness and witlessness augmented by their indifference to the two key guys from the show who were more interested in what they could do in bed than what they could do on the stage. Stepping before a generally impassive crowd of cold fish, the shimmer of their very slight bodies (this was definitely not Marilyn and Jane in those sleek and revealing statements), within cogent physical space and scale (even the buildings around the square come across as unusually colorful), puts something hitherto unseen into their eyes and into their voices as they take up a clipper ship of a song, which lyricist Demy and composer Michel Legrand had kept docked until this moment of truth for a film so easily underestimated. (more…)

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