French director Jacques Demy made his mark with the critically acclaimed "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964), which was nominated for three Oscars in 1966. He apparently had fond memories of California, as evidenced in "Model Shop," a delightful and honest film that not only tells a story, but also gives us a fascinating glance at the Los Angeles from the late sixties.
George Matthews (Gary Lockwood) is an unemployed young man that lives with beautiful Gloria (Alexandra Hay), who apparently cares about him. George is not a happy fellow. As Gloria rightfully tells him, he refuses to commit to anybody or anything. Unbeknown to him, his life will take a dramatic turn when he is informed that his beloved car will be taken away if he doesn't make a one-hundred dollars payment. Having no job, he is forced to hit the streets in search of money, and, while doing so, he meets Lola (Anouk Aimée), an attractive French model, which whom he is quickly infatuated. At the same time, he receives his draft notice, which would mean that he will have to go to Vietnam. All these situations complicate George's already confused existence, and he will have to make some serious choices.
Even though "Model Shop's" story seems light at times, Demy fills it with unforgettable shots of the Los Angeles of those years. George spends a lot of time driving through its streets, and for us, who live in this fascinating city, is a trip to see how it has changed with time. In addition, you just can't take your eyes away from Anouk Aimée, an actress that certainly exuded beauty and sensuality. I think that it is also remarkable that Demy addressed, in such a smart way, the controversial draft, which terrified so many young people at the time. All these elements stay with you for a while. (France/USA, 1969, color, 97 min.)