Model Shop (film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Model Shop is a 1969 American film by French writer-director Jacques Demy starring Gary Lockwood, Alexandra Hay, and Anouk Aimée, featuring a guest appearance by Spirit who recorded the soundtrack. Demy made Model Shop, which was his first English-language film, following the international success of his film, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Aimée reprises the title role from Demy's 1960 French-language film Lola.

Model Shop makes explicit the fact that Demy's films take place in the same narrative universe. It weaves together the plots of Lola, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and Bay of Angels. Catherine Deneuve appears as herself on the cover of a coffee-table magazine in Lola's apartment.

Plot summary

In 1969 Los Angeles, 26-year-old architect George Matthews (Gary Lockwood) is floundering. He's unemployed and in debt, his live-in girlfriend, aspiring actress Gloria (Alexandra Hay), is tired of him, and his car is about to be repossessed.

Going round to friends to scrounge $100 to stave off the finance company, he sees a beautiful foreign woman (Anouk Aimée) in a white convertible and follows her to a mansion in the hills. Ringing up his parents, he learns that his draft notice has arrived and he must report for Army duty the next week. For the first time, he comes face-to-face with his own mortality.

On the street he sees the beautiful woman again and follows her. She enters a model shop, a tawdry studio where customers can take erotic photographs, and he books a session with her, but she is uninterested in his attentions. At home he finds that Gloria has landed a job with a new admirer, who is taking her out for the evening. Obsessed with the enigmatic foreigner, he returns to the model shop and books another session with her. She tells him she is French, named Cécile but working as Lola, and recounts some of her problems. Abandoned by her husband Michel for a female gambler named Jackie Demaistre, she is trying to make enough money to return to France and her son.

In a tender night of drinking and lovemaking at Lola's apartment, George and Lola talk of their failed romances, their dashed dreams, philosophy, and mortality. Through their conversation, they each find the willpower to continue living, and George gives her the money he had borrowed to save his car. The next morning, when George goes home, he finds Gloria packing to leave. He phones Lola, but her roommate tells him she flew out to Paris early that morning, having enough cash for a plane ticket. As they talk, a tow truck outside is removing his car. He tells the roommate: "I just wanted to tell her that I love her. I wanted her to know that I was going to begin again. It sounds stupid, I know. But a person can always try."

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Model Shop (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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