The 31-year-old writer-director Jacques Demy’s excellent 1962 French New Wave movie is his second feature after his hit debut with Lola (1961).
Bay of Angels boasts a spellbinding performance by a startlingly blonde Jeanne Moreau as Jackie Demaistre, an obsessive gambler who has an affair with a bank clerk called Jean Fournier (Claude Mann), a winner at the casinos in Nice, in Southern France. Paul Guers plays Jean’s co-worker Caron, a gambler who passes the sickness on to him.
The story is as slight and brief as a short, punchy anecdote. But the movie is directed by the still young Demy with a light and compelling touch. And there is striking black and white location photography by Jean Rabier, who also shot for Demy’s next film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg [Les Parapluies de Cherbourg] (1964) and worked on more than 40 films with Claude Chabrol. Rabier died on aged 88.
Above all it is the film’s triumph that it conveys the exhilaration and agony of gambling fever better than any other movie. And Moreau does a great line in conveying obsession. And it is good that Demy works again with composer Michel Legrand.
Also in the cast are Henri Nassiet, André Certes and Nicole Chollet.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4304
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