Jeanne Moreau plays Jackie, a compulsive gambler, in Jacques Demy’s La baie des anges (Bay of Angels, 1963). She pursues the goal of a doomed and reckless passion. “I wanted to lay bare the workings of a passion” said the director. The gambling passion devours everything in Jackie, “it’s that expectation of something mysterious, it’s like a rite, a ritual”, explains Jeanne Moreau. Beautifully shot, with an otherworldly atmosphere and an engaging script delving into the mystique of gambling, rolling on the masterful music of Michel Legrand, the film is a demonstration of Moreau’s cinematic personality.
Usually known for his cheerful and colourful movies, Jacques Demy soberly filmed Bay of Angels in black and white. He wanted Jeanne Moreau’s costumes only in black and white as well and he chose Pierre Cardin to design them. Elegant outfits for the elegant beaches, bistros and casinos along the Côte d’Azur. With platinum blonde hair and impeccably dressed, Jackie “embodies sin for him” (her partner onscreen, Jean), “but she does not know it”.
The floral print, black and white dress is so strikingly beautiful. I loved it so much that I initially wanted to include only this one look in my post out of a total of three Jeanne Moreau is wearing throughout the movie. Low V-back, knee-length, body-conscious silhouette. Accessorized with a black hat or in various ways with a white scarf, of which one with its edges tied at the neck and the body of the scarf left to follow the line of the bare back.
The little black dress. So simple, so elegant. Again backless, but this time the back is tied in bows by two pairs of thin strings. Note the mid-calf hemline. Jackie is wearing this dress only with the feather boa wrapped around her.
The tailored suit. It would have been impossible not to be evoked in the film.
images: stills from ‘Bay of Angels’, captured by me; kindly link back to classiq if you use any of these images / production credits
Quotes, by Jacques Demy and Jeanne Moreau, from the special features on the DVD.