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Directed by Jacques Demy's wife Agnès Varda while Demy neared death, this charming and formally inventive biopic is not only a beautiful depiction of the director's life and work but also a treasurable addition to the great tradition of films about children.
Directed by Demy's wife Agnès Varda as Demy neared death, Jacquot de Nantes is not only a beautiful depiction of the director's life and work — intercutting dramatized episodes from Demy's childhood with excerpts from his films and personal footage of Demy late in life — but also a treasurable addition to the great tradition of films about children. The son of an auto mechanic and a hairdresser (two favourite professions in Demy's films), young Jacquot is crazy for puppet shows, plays, circuses, and movies. Spouting opinions about films, actresses, and directors, he becomes a baby cinephile. Despite privation and the Nazi occupation of France, Jacquot maintains his joyous fantasy of becoming a filmmaker, creating his own characters at home, shooting films on a primitive camera in the attic, and trying out his tracking shots on roller skates. Affectionate, poetic, stirring, Jacquot includes a reconstruction of Demy's lost three-minute animated film Attaque Nocturne, made when he was a child. "Exquisite.... at once a detailed evocation of French provincial life during the Occupation and a persuasive account of an artist discovering his vocation in a milieu inhospitable to creative activity" (Philip French, The Observer).