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With forty years' hindsight, we can see The Model Shop's enormous debt to Antonioni's L'avventura, that great 1960 landmark: Both films take place in desert locales. Both focus on disillusioned architects grasping for meaning and direction. Both architects profess admiration for the emotional fullness of Baroque architecture. Both men betray their girlfriends -- and both in the arms of tawdry exhibitionists. The list goes on and on.
But where L'avventura makes the most of its excellent black and white photography, The Model Shop goes one better by deploying vivid color to convey mood and thought and feeling -- and does so with the same canny impact as in the best color art photography (the esteemed William Eggleston comes to mind). When in the final frames, the film's action renounces color and cuts to the blackest black, the dramatic edit conveys unsettling truths about the lead character's dilemma. In this one bold move, The Model Shop distills and outperforms Antonioni (and seems to have provided the template for the "Paint it Black" ending to Stanley Kubrick's 1987 Full Metal Jacket.) This and its lead character's emotional predicament at film's end also appear to have influenced the memorable ending to Quentin Tarantino`s 1997 Jackie Brown.
Throughout The Model Shop's deceptively simple story are poetic clues to its own self-knowing intentions (all of those oil wells, want ads, and so on are all well-placed and all there for good reason).Read more ›
George Matthews (Gary Lockwood) is an unemployed young man that lives with beautiful Gloria (Alexandra Hay), who apparently cares about him. George is not a happy fellow. As Gloria rightfully tells him, he refuses to commit to anybody or anything. Unbeknown to him, his life will take a dramatic turn when he is informed that his beloved car will be taken away if he doesn't make a one-hundred dollars payment. Having no job, he is forced to hit the streets in search of money, and, while doing so, he meets Lola (Anouk Aimée), an attractive French model, which whom he is quickly infatuated. At the same time, he receives his draft notice, which would mean that he will have to go to Vietnam. All these situations complicate George's already confused existence, and he will have to make some serious choices.
Even though "Model Shop's" story seems light at times, Demy fills it with unforgettable shots of the Los Angeles of those years. George spends a lot of time driving through its streets, and for us, who live in this fascinating city, is a trip to see how it has changed with time. In addition, you just can't take your eyes away from Anouk Aimée, an actress that certainly exuded beauty and sensuality. I think that it is also remarkable that Demy addressed, in such a smart way, the controversial draft, which terrified so many young people at the time. All these elements stay with you for a while. (France/USA, 1969, color, 97 min.)
The film is an interesting look at a very American time and place as seen by a French Americaphile film maker.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quality of the DVD transfer was surprisingly good; beautifully saturated colors, clean transfer, lots of detail. Read morePublished on May 26, 2014 by Andrew P. Valenti
This has a distinctive Jacques Demy visual style and is in SUPER color. The dvd is a good transfer. Curious though how in those days some amazing opening shots of a film could be... Read morePublished on May 6, 2014 by Ripper
Great movie about the late 60's in Southern California, mostly Venice etc., I enjoyed the soundtrack from Spirit, who also appear in the film, a very special treat in itself. Read morePublished on September 20, 2013 by Laura Nardoni
So happy to finally see this on DVD! This movie may not be for everybody. It was directed by a French director and subsequently has the feel of a European character study rather... Read morePublished on June 11, 2013 by jborsma
The thing I like most about Jacques Demy's movies is they are soo! organic.
Model Shop is a down to earth and very real film. Read more
If you are a Demy fan like me, who loved Cherbourg and Demoiselles, do not spend money to see this awful, sordid little movie. Read morePublished on February 27, 2013 by CXC
I bought this because of Spirit doing the music and appearing in the film. Without a doubt this is one of the worst films I've ever seen. I've never seen such blaise performances. Read morePublished on February 26, 2013 by harperbass
You are requiring too much of my time here! I'm happy with my purchase. Leave it at that! ! !Published on December 11, 2012 by John R. Gray III
the ending is corny, but I bought this movie mainly for it's footage of the Venice beach shoreline in the 1960's. Read morePublished on November 6, 2012 by econoroller