“En-Chanté”: The World of Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand
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About the film
Peau d’Âne dir. Jacques Demy (1970)
In a magical land, a widower king (Jean Marais) decrees that he will wed his daughter, the princess (Catherine Deneuve), because she’s the only woman able to match his former queen’s beauty. To dodge the incestuous union, the princess—with the help of a magical fairy (Delphine Seyrig)—disguises herself as a donkey and escapes to a neighboring kingdom. There, the donkey-skinned maiden encounters a handsome prince (Jacques Perrin) who falls in love with her. Fascinated by it since childhood, Demy began adapting this 1695 fairy tale by Charles Perrault into a script as early as 1962. Michel Legrand wrote the music.
En-chanté: The World of Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand
This year 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of the beloved French film musical Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, created by director Jacques Demy and composer Michel Legrand. This bittersweet tale of two young lovers is sung from beginning to end, with no spoken dialogue—a bold and unique idea at the time. To celebrate the anniversary, this series will present it alongside two other classic musical films by Demy and Legrand, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1966) and Peau d’Âne (1970). Together, the three form a kind of trilogy, exploring themes of love, separation, regret, and family. All feature the actress whom Les Parapluies helped launch to stardom, Catherine Deneuve. Legrand’s magnificent musical scores range across many styles, including jazz, the romantic, and the neo-baroque. Prior to the screenings, Walter Frisch will present remarks to discuss the social, cultural, historical, and musical contexts of the films within their time and within the careers of Demy and Legrand.