Lola (1961 film)

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Directed by Jacques Demy
Produced by Georges de Beauregard
Carlo Ponti
Written by Jacques Demy
Starring Anouk Aimée
Marc Michel
Music by Michel Legrand
Agnès Varda (song "Lola")
Cinematography Raoul Coutard
Edited by Anne-Marie Cotret
Monique Teisseire
Distributed by Films Around the World Inc. original release (USA)
WinStar Cinema (USA) (re-release)
Release date
March 3, 1961
Running time
90 minutes
Country Italy / France
Language French
Budget US $70,000 (approx)[1]

Lola, is a 1961 romantic drama film, the debut film directed by Jacques Demy as a tribute to director Max Ophüls and is described by Demy as a "musical without music".[2][3] Anouk Aimée starred 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 Der blaue Engel, in which Marlene Dietrich played a burlesque performer named "Lola Lola."


Lola takes place in the Atlantic coastal city of Nantes, France. A young man, Roland Cassard (Marc Michel, who later reprises the role of Roland in the later Demy film, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) is letting his life waste away until he has a chance encounter with Lola (Aimée), a woman he used to know as a teenager before World War II and who is now a cabaret dancer. Though Roland is quite smitten with her, Lola is preoccupied with her former lover, Michel, who abandoned her and her seven-year-old son years before. Also vying for Lola's heart is an American sailor, Frankie (Alan Scott), whose affection Lola does not return.

Struggling for work, Roland gets involved in a diamond-smuggling plot with the local barber. Cécile (Annie Dupéroux), a young teenage girl, crosses paths with Roland; her life in many ways mirrors that of Lola's, whose actual name is also Cécile. In the end, Michel returns to Nantes for Lola, apparently very successful and hoping to marry her, just as she is leaving for another job in Marseille. She goes away with Michel (as she always said she would), leaving Roland despondent and bitter at the vagaries of love and fortune.

Critical reception[edit]

Lola received moderate reviews from critics. The Chicago Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum said 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 3.5/4 stars, saying that he believed that it "doesn't have the intellectual rigour of those other films." He went on to also say 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. The reasoning behind this is in part due to Demy's "New Wave-cum-classical style", which "creates a self-contained world that gives a softly lift 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]

Awards and nominations[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 (2002-04-12). "Film Clips:Lola". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2006-09-28. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan. "Lola". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Hooper, Travis. "Lola (1961)". Film Freak Central. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Lola (Jacques Demy, 1961)". Not Just Movies. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 

External links[edit]