Gary Lockwood, back down to earth after 2001: A Space Odyssey, stars as George Matthews, an aspiring architect and full-time layabout. Model Shop follows him throughout the course of a particularly bad day—on the outs with his girlfriend, he drives around Los Angeles looking to borrow a hundred dollars so that his convertible won’t be repossessed, and soon comes face-to-face with his own mortality when he learns he’s been called in for the draft. But chance encounters with a mysterious French woman (Anouk Aimée) suggest a new beginning. As ever an immaculate colorist, Jacques Demy captures the low-slung poetry of that lonely city in a style uniquely his own. His time in America, he would later recall, had enlivened him creatively after a period of significant enervation, but Demy’s tenure in Hollywood would begin and end with this, one of his most underrated pictures.
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