Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand: Partners in Song

Photo courtesy of Ciné-Tamaris

Though it emerged from the artistic rebelliousness and formal innovations of the French New Wave, Jacques Demy’s kaleidoscopic world was like nothing of its time. The director’s signature style—a Hollywood-inspired blend of candy-colored imagery, infectious tunes, and swooning romance—was most famously showcased in his beloved musicals The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), both of which are available in breakout editions this week. A key ingredient in these two landmark films is Demy’s close collaboration with composer Michel Legrand, who became an international icon following the success of Cherbourg’s soundtrack and went on to win three Oscars for his work in Hollywood. In the below excerpt from a 1964 television interview featured on our release, Demy defends his realism-flouting use of wall-to-wall singing and Legrand takes to the piano for a few bars of the film’s heartrending main theme.

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