Watch Now: MODEL SHOP
Revered for his visual style, French New Wave director Jacques Demy received international acclaim thanks to his 1964 musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, resulting in Columbia Pictures offering him a movie contract. Thus, the 1969 romance drama Model Shop was made, Demy’s first English-language film and, unfortunately, his only Hollywood project, courtesy of its unexpectedly poor box office performance. Model Shop follows unemployed architect George Matthews (a role originally intended for then-no-name Harrison Ford, but one that ultimately went to Gary Lockwood) as he becomes enamored with a French woman named Lola (Anouk Aimée, who portrayed the same character in Demy’s 1960 drama Lola) working at a model shop where customers can take erotic photographs of the female employees of their choice.
A film that is as much about Los Angeles as it is about its main characters, Model Shop would not only be revisited by critics and audiences in the years to come, ending up on Sight and Sound’s list of 75 most neglected films, but would also go on to serve as inspiration for movies such as Damien Chazelle’s 2016 musical La La Land, Andrew Slater’s 2018 film Echo in the Canyon, and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood (2019).