Young Girls of Rochefort, The: Demy’s Charming Musical, Starring Real-Life Sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorleac

The idiosyncratic New Wave filmmaker Jacques Demy directed this tribute to the Hollywood musicals of the 1940s, as a follow-up to his earlier and superior success “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964).

Both films star the very young and beautiful Catherine Deneuve before she became an international star and fashion icon (“Channel 5,” among others).

Twin sisters Delphine and Solange (played by real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorleac) live in the small coastal town of Rochefort, where they run a school for dancing and music. Like most of Demy’s female protagonosts (“Lola”), both feel frustrated in Rochefort, dreaming of travelling to the big romantic city of Paris, where they hope to find romance and happiness.

Meanwhile, their single mother, Yvonne (vet star Danielle Darrieux, still in top form), who runs a cafe in town, also pines for her the love of her former beau, Simon (Michel Piccoli).

One of Yvonne’s regular customers, Maxence (Jacques Perrin), a sailor with an artistic inclination, shows her a painting of the imaginary girl of his dreams–she looks just like Delphine, whom he’s never met.

Simon, who has returned to Rochefort, bringing with him a close friend, American pianist Andy Miller (Gene Kelly, used as an explicit reference and icon of classic Hollywood musicals), befriends Solange and introduces her to Andy, who immediately falls for her (How can he not?)

“Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” was the last film of Françoise Dorleac, who died in an auto accident shortly after production was completed.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Score of Musical: Michel Legrand, Jacques Demy

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The Scoring Oscar went to John Green for “Oliver!” which also won Best Picture.

Running time: 124 Minutes.

Jacques Demy

 April 11, 1968.

 January 22, 2002