Thursday, June 5, 2014

June 5, 2014



June 5, 2014

There are numerous happy moments in my life, but the biggest moment is when I purchased the Jacques Demy DVD box-set in Paris.  There are countless symbolic images one can get to remind one self that they were located in Paris, for instance a little plastic Effel Tower key chain, but that would have been useless due to the fact I loathe keys of all sorts.  Alas, the Demy box-set for me, is Paris in a nutshell.  The fact that it has the ultimate Los Angeles film, “The Model Shop, ” in this set, is just an additional plus, because even though Los Angeles is technically an American city, I think it’s the most French of all American cities.  In fact, I’m sort of shocked that Southern California did not become the property of France. It would go well with Nice and the whole lie Midi vibe that is out there already.

Obviously, Demy doesn’t represent a ‘real’ Paris, but the Paris that is in my head, and that is the only Paris I’m interested in.   I often look at the album cover of Michel Legrand’s “I love Paris” and just marvel at the chubby middle-aged man carrying a huge squash over his shoulder, while smoking a tiny cigarette, which I presume is in the Les Halles Market district.   That, as a market doesn’t exist anymore, but, the image lives on.  I often dream with a Legrand musical score in the background.  Last night I had the oddest dream where I’m in a Goya painting, or that is my impression at the very least.  I was running down a slight incline into a room that was brilliantly white.  There were people there, but they were covered in sheets, and I had a whip as I ran into the room and started whipping in a frenzy everything around me.  The one thing I noticed was that there was no blood, because you think I would have caused an open wound where the blood would soak through the white sheet.   Throughout this attack, I could clearly hear a Legrand recording on a turntable that was positioned in the room.



I woke up breathing heavily after the attack in the dream.  I wasn’t that puzzled about my rampage, but more curious about the Legrand soundtrack - was it even music by him?  Yet, it was obviously a piece of music by Legrand.  I got out of bed, in pitch darkness and ran to my record collection.  I took out all the Legrand recording I have, and played each one to hopefully recognize the piece that was in the dream.  It was at this point I realized that it was music from Jacques Demy’s “The Donkey Skin.”  To be specific the title of the song is “Advice of the Lilac Fairy,” which is a beauty by Legrand and Demy (who wrote the lyrics), and an odd choice for my dream sequence where I whip people hiding behind white sheets.



One of the key attractions for me with respect to Demy’s work, is that he has characters that run through all of his films that reappears in each film.   So watching all of Demy’s films, one is stuck in a world made up by the filmmaker, and the only reference, for instance his seaport town of Nantes, as if it was a Hollywood musical from the 1950s is very much a self-contained environment, which I find pleasing.  To take a landscape and make it your own, whatever it is Paris or Silverlake is something that I admire greatly.  It is a world where even external oxygen is not allowed in, I can only smell the scents, the sights, the touch that is very much the aesthetic of Jacques Demy.   The truth is I loathe a world that is not Demy.  My dream last night is in a sense a battle between what I thought was threatening (people under sheets) agains the beauty of Legrand, and therefore Jacques Demy.
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