Une chambre en ville

The school term was coming to an end.  In the elevator, I heard a student say that he loved science and hated math.  I kept myself from telling him that he couldn’t have understood science very well if that is what he thought.  During a break in the rain, I went out to buy some food.  I heard about the death of John Glenn.  When I finally finished my lecture, I stopped at Gordo Taqueria before returning home to watch “Une chambre de ville,” the last Jacques Demy movie that I had borrowed from the library.  It was a musical with an approach similar to “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”  Dominque Sanda is Edith, whose husband sells television sets.  She becomes involved with her mother’s boarder, a steelworker named Francois Gilbaud, who has one of those nice girlfriends named Violette.  Francois is something like Al Pacino mixed with Bill Graham.  I couldn’t see what was so magnetic about him.  Edith’s husband was the oddest character, coming from the weakest performance in the cast.  I wasn’t convinced of him for a moment.  Edith and her mother are a clear contrast with Violette and her mother.  The daughter of the affluent mother is immature and unreliable.  You have to question the judgment of someone who depends on fortune tellers.  Meanwhile, Violette seems to be just like Catherine Deneuve in “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”  The colors in this film, from the clothes to the wallpaper, is just like in Demy’s previous films.  I could watch Demy’s films over and over again just to watch the colors go by.  The character of Edith is aggravating because she speaks with the confidence of youth, but she shows such poor judgment.  Why does she ever get married to such a disagreeable person?  He doesn’t seem to be the type to attract such an impulsive person in the first place.  She dismisses him as a coward, and then she goes back to him to retrieve her possessions, even after he showed signs of being violent.  Why take a chance when your safety is at risk?  She also goes around naked underneath a fur coat.  When she says that she is in love with Francois, it’s hard to believe her.  That whole relationship has a Romeo and Juliet aspect to it.  Edith’s mother has experience and is perceptive enough, but a weakness in her armor is the memory of her son, not to mention alcohol.  The coincidence of Edith meeting Francois seems hard to believe, since he also happens to rent Edith’s room.  Weren’t there traces of Edith in the house, like photographs?  I guess that Francois is wrapped up in what he does and so doesn’t notice these things.  I would say that Violette was something like Annette O’Toole or Anna Kendrick.  This was all supposed to be happening in Nantes in 1955.  The first moments of the film are in black and white, and then the color hits the screen like a jolt.  Something terrible is going to happen during the demonstrations in the streets.  You know that from the way the movie is set up.  The last scene wasn’t believable to me, even in this artificial setting.  It seemed that Edith’s mother would have stopped her instead of just talking to her.  Violette happened to be in the room, too, just standing silent.  She had to be going through conflicting emotions.  The cops in this movie sing, reminding me of that forgotten television series of the 1980s, “Cop Rock.”  There were a few moments when I thought that Demy should have gone with a different approach to this subject instead of revisiting the familiar.  This film was from 1982, which was eighteen years after “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”  The disc of “Une chambre de ville” had what seemed like interesting special features, like “Jacques Demy, A to Z” and two documentaries by Agnes Varda.  The movie was like an opera, with characters getting swept up in emotion and three characters dying.  All in all, I liked it and thought it added a lot to Demy’s body of work.  I heard that the Raiders lost their game in Kansas City, which was not shocking to me.  Derek Carr did not have one of his great games, passing for only 117 yards.  I fell asleep and woke up to watch a Columbo episode with Robert Conrad.  You should never tell a physical person like Conrad that you’re going to ruin him, giving him motivation to kill you.  Some of these television characters have no sense of self-preservation.  You have to keep your mouth shut, wait until he’s gone and far away, and just spring your surprise on him. One of the channels was showing “The Mean Season,” which I saw years ago.  Andy Garcia was in it.  I watched the movie because I wanted to see Mariel Hemingway again.  I’m relieved that it is the end of the week.  I have two more paychecks before the end of the year.  I have the chance to see three more movies this weekend, including the documentary on Toshiro Mifune.  I was also thinking of seeing “Arrival.”  I’m waiting for the arrival of “Rogue One” and “La La Land.”  Some of the people who died on December 9 include Branch Rickey (1965), Vincent Gardenia (1992), Gene Barry (2009), Eleanor Parker (2013), and Mary Ann Mobley (2014).  Today is a birthday for Felicity Huffman (54), Donny Osmond (59), John Malkovich (63), Dick Butkus (74), Judi Dench (82), and Kirk Douglas (100).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for December 9, “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” was released in 1974.  In 1983, “Terms of Endearment” was released.  In 2009, Gene Barry, known for playing Bat Masterson, died at age 90.

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