mercoledì 10 aprile 2013

La soirée des sœurs jumelles

Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (Catherine Deneuve and her sister Françoise Dorléac)
Have you ever had a twin sister?
I was personally so lucky to find one in my life some years ago: her name is Patricia, like Jean Seberg in À bout de Souffle, and not only she has her same name but she really looks like her. 

This was, of course, the reason why I talked to Patricia the first time I met her. 
Few months later (I was still living in Italy) I went to visit her in Paris and from that very moment on it was "friendship at first sight"!
Patricia and I found out to have in common, among many other things, an unconditional love for Jacques Demy

We even made together some pilgrimages on Demy’s movies places: Nantes (where Patricia comes from, by the way) and Rochefort, because “our” movie is Les Demoiselles de Rochefort.
When a couple of weeks ago I received from the Cinémathèque Française the invitation to a very special avant-première of their exhibition on Jacques Demy, I didn’t even have to think about the person who has to be there with me. Evidently enough, c’était ma jumelle!
So, Monday night at 7 pm, we were ready to enter the enchanting world of Monsieur Demy.
And enchanted we were! 
The exhibition is a must-see for any Demy fan in the world: the entire fifth floor of the Cinémathèque has been split in small rooms containing the different Demy universes, corresponding to each of his movies. 
From the Nantes of Lola, to the one of Une chambre en ville, from the wonderful papier-peints of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, to the reproduction of the art gallery in Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, you are happy to be swallowed up by the world created by Jacques Demy and his collaborators (oh, the magnificent costumes of Peau d'Âne!). 
I particularly liked the pictures taken on the different sets by Agnès Varda, and the small objects that make a big difference, like the congratulations letters received by his friends (Truffaut, Cocteau...) and the card invitations to the avant-première of his movies.
Madame Emery and Roland Cassard - Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
Invitation to the avant-première of Les Demoiselles de Rochefort
The sumptuos costumes of Peau d'Ane
Around 8 pm, the space was full, and one can easily imagine to be in a Demy movie: besides his family (wife Agnes Varda, son Mathieu and stepdaughter Rosalie), many of the actors of his movies were there: Anouk Aimée, Michel Piccoli, Jacques Perrin, Dominique Sanda, Mathilda May, Richard Berry, Jean-François Stévenin, were walking around, amazed.
Many cinema stars were at the appointment as well: Michel Gondry, Jane Birkin, Virginie Ledoyen, Costa Gavras, Lambert Wilson, Salma Hayek, Claudia Cardinale, Valérie Donzelli et Jérémie Elkaïm, Louise Bourgoin, Déborah François, Agathe Bonitzer, Guillaume Gouix (Serge, the killer of Les Revenants), Melvil Poupaud (at his best!), and even secretive French film-maker Leos Carax, with his unavoidable black glasses. 

The royal touch was gently provided by the Prince Albert of Monaco, who apparently is a huge Demy fan. The only one missing, evidently enough, was Catherine Deneuve. Was she out of France? Difficult to believe, but not hard to understand why this event could be way too emotional for her. 
Geneviève and Madame Emery - Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
And emotional is the word I would use to describe the next best thing of the soirée: a special concert by one of Jacques Demy’s best friends and most precious collaborators, Michel Legrand. The musician, 81 years old and the enthusiasm of a 20something, played with his small band many songs from Demy’s movies with a new, jazzy, fabulous arrangement.
Patricia and I burst into tears several times, trying (uselessly enough) not to let the other being aware of that, but at the end, when a picture of Jacques Demy invaded the screen, and Legrand kept looking at him, waving a good bye, we both cried without restraint.  
Les soeur jumelles ont le cœur doux! 
Michel Legrand - The Cinémathèque Concert
We definitely needed a glass of champagne to overcome the difficult moment. 
Luckily enough, the Merveilleux Cocktail offered by Dalloyau was the grand final de la soirée
The problem with my twin sister and I, is that we really love champagne, and when we start drinking it, well, it is difficult to stop us. And then we become even more sociable than we normally are. 
This basically means we went to talk to any actor/actress we vaguely love who was in the room (I personally wanted to put my arms around Melvil Poupaud but since there was his family there I just told him how fabulous he was in the last Dolan's movie). 
I have to confess that the one who had to pay dearly for our uncontrollable enthusiasm was Mathieu Demy: we first met him in the exhibition, while we were taking a pictures of ourselves near Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (and he was already laughing a lot), but then we saw him from a balcony where the cocktail was taking place and we kept stupidly waving at him, and in the end we just blocked him in a corner. He looked scared. We said: "Don’t worry, we are not as crazy as we look!" We confessed him all our love for his father, and all the things we have done because of that, and once our speech was over, Mathieu looked really impressed and he even drank a glass of champagne with us. 
Truth is, he couldn’t stop laughing. 
My twin sister and I can be pretty funny, c'est vrai... At least five different people that night came to see us, asking: "Are you twin sisters?" Of course we are, can’t you see THAT??!
And this is La chanson des Jumelles of Les Demoiselles de Rochefort:

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