Model Shop (1969): Jacques (Umbrellas of Cherbourg) Demy’s Only Hollywood Movie (Strangers in Paradise)

Written and directed by Jacques Demy, the iconic Gallic filmmaker, best known for the 1964 original musical, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, starring Catherine Deneuve.

Gary Lockwood stars as a young American who falls in love with French model Anouk Aimee in Model Shop, Jacques Demy’s only Hollywood studio feature–it was financed by Columbia.

Anouk Aimee reprises her role as Lola from Demy’s first film, but neither she nor Lockwood is the real star of Model Shop.

The central character is the city of Los Angeles itself, which Demy photographs with the same blend of wonder and authenticity that characterize his French films.

Be sure: This is no idealized version of Hollywood.  Rather, it’s an LA of supermarkets and parking lots and traffic. Yet Demy’s incredibly romantic eye renders distinctive style and elegant dignity to even the most mundane people and locations.