Model Shop

As beautiful and moving as any of Demy's films, Model Shop may finally secure the reputation it so richly deserves in this superlative new print. Demy updates the fate of Lola (Anouk Aimée), the French prostitute who gave his first film its name in 1961, who has moved to Los Angeles and works in a “model shop,” where lonely men go to snap photos of beautiful women. 2001's Gary Lockwood plays a would-be architect who pursues Lola like some holy grail through the City of Angels. Misunderstood or dismissed upon its release, Model Shop was Demy's only American film, and it shows a fine outsider's sense of atmosphere: L.A.'s fractured topography of beach, canyon, and low-rise metropolis, the pastel model shop with its labyrinth of back rooms, the lambent languor of the Sunset Strip at twilight. Aimée is supernal as the lost and longing Lola, Lockwood surprisingly fine as the architect who admires urban geometry but cannot find a design for his inchoate emotion.

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