Release Date: March 3, 1961
Director: Jacques Demy
Production Company: Rome Paris Films
Lola is a well-crafted film that tells the intertwining stories of several people over a few days in the port city of Nantes. The titular Lola (Anouk Aimee) is a cabaret dancer with a young son hoping for the return of her one true love, the boy’s father. She has a casual relationship with an American sailor, Frankie (Alan Scott), but does not return his affections. She also becomes reacquainted with Roland Cassard (Marc Michel), a childhood friend she hasn’t seen “since the War.” Roland also declares his love for Lola.
Roland is also a point-of-view character, and is a moody slacker who can’t hold a job. At the same time he meets up with Lola, he is offered a sketchy job by a barber who wants him to deliver a briefcase to Johannesburg. Add into the mix Cécile (Annie Dupéroux), an outgoing girl celebrating her 14th birthday, who makes the acquaintance of both Roland and Frankie.
The intertwining of the stories and characters is admirably done and the characters are all well-acted. The movie feels like a musical production without the music. On the downside, Roland is yet another example of the narcissistic and toxic men who seem to be the protagonists of every French New Wave film. There’s also a certain creepiness to a grown man and a teenage girl having a seemingly platonic outing to an amusement park but the way it’s filmed frames it as a romance.
Lola is a movie that was clearly something new when it was created, but nevertheless feels old fashioned. I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it.