Lola (1961 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byJacques Demy
Written byJacques Demy
Produced by
CinematographyRaoul Coutard
Edited by
  • Anne-Marie Cotret
  • Monique Teisseire
Music byMichel Legrand
Rome-Paris Films
Distributed by
  • Unidex (France)
  • Euro International Films (Italy)
Release dates
  • 3 March 1961 (1961-03-03) (France)
  • 18 March 1961 (1961-03-18) (Italy)
Running time
90 minutes
  • France
  • Italy
  • French
  • English
Budget $70,000 (US)[1]

Lola is a 1961 romantic drama film written and directed by Jacques Demy (in his feature directorial debut) as a tribute to director Max Ophüls, described by Demy as a "musical without music".[2][3] Anouk Aimée stars in the title role. The film was restored and re-released by Demy's widow, French filmmaker Agnès Varda.

The names of the film and title character were inspired by Josef von Sternberg's 1930 film The Blue Angel, in which Marlene Dietrich played a burlesque performer named Lola Lola.


In the seaside French town of Nantes, a young man, Roland Cassard, is wasting his life away until he has a chance encounter with Lola, a woman he knew as a teenager before World War II, who is now a cabaret dancer. Although Roland is quite smitten with her, Lola is preoccupied with her former lover Michel, who abandoned her after impregnating her seven years earlier. Also vying for Lola's heart is American sailor Frankie, whose affection Lola does not return.

Struggling for work, Roland gets involved in a diamond-smuggling plot with a local barber. Cécile, a 13-year-old girl, crosses paths with Roland; in many ways she reminds him of Lola, whose real name is also Cécile. In the end, Michel returns to Nantes, apparently very successful and hoping to marry Lola, just as she is leaving for another job in Marseille. She goes away with Michel as she always said she would.

Critical reception[edit]

Lola received moderate reviews from critics. Chicago Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote it was "among the most neglected major works of the French New Wave" and "in some ways [Demy's] best feature."[4]

Travis Hooper of Film Freak Central gave it three-and-a-half out of four stars, stating that he believed that it "doesn't have the intellectual rigour of those other films". He went on to write that it "is stronger for feeling, showing that we need more than the confirmation of the worst if we intend to make it through our lives intact."[5]

Not Just Movies gave Lola an A rating, mostly for Demy's "New Wave-cum-classical style", which "creates a self-contained world that gives a softly lit haze to reality as characters constantly aim for each other and miss, sometimes passing within mere inches of each other before carrying on or being redirected."[6]

Wong Kar-Wai cited Lola as a primary influence on his film Chungking Express (1994), in inspiring that film's second half.[7]

Awards and nominations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas, Kevin (21 July 1968). "Demy, Anouk Meet Again—In L.A., of All Places". Los Angeles Times. p. c14.
  2. ^ Guthmann, Edward (12 April 2002). "Film Clips: Also opening today". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  3. ^ Grady, Pam. "Lola (1961)". Archived from the original on 9 September 2004.
  4. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan (6 August 2020) [24 May 2002]. "Lola". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 12 October 2012 – via
  5. ^ Hooper, Travis. "Lola (1961)". Film Freak Central. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  6. ^ Cole, Jake (25 September 2011). "Lola (Jacques Demy, 1961)". Not Just Movies. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  7. ^ Interview with Wong Kar-Wai, 1995 Toronto International Film Festival.

External links[edit]