Still from the movie  Rivers and Tides

Still from the movie Rivers and Tides


A Beautiful Mind

December 21, 2001, San Francisco Chronicle:

Still Life with Animated Dogs

Bark Magazine, 2008:

Bay of Angels

March 29, 2002, San Francisco Chronicle:

In his 1963 film "Bay of Angels," French filmmaker Jacques Demy took the light, piquant romanticism of his first film, "Lola," and gave it an edge by casting Jeanne Moreau in the lead role. Playing Jackie, a peroxided hustler and gambling addict who loses and wins millions at the roulette table, Moreau is one of the most watchable of screen goddesses.

Pretty, mercurial and perverse, Jackie is a smooth operator exuding ersatz glamour and I-don't-give-a-damn sophistication. Like any great object of desire, Moreau has a gift for drawing us in and then keeping us at a safe distance, wondering what's percolating beneath the surface.

Demy shot "Bay of Angels" in dreamy black and white and set his simple, pared-down tale in the casinos of Nice and St. Tropez. Jean (Claude Mann), a young bank employee and gambling neophyte, falls into Jackie's perfumed trap and mistakes the adrenaline of chance for the rumblings of love.

Blessed with one of the great cinematic faces, Moreau can sparkle and entice in one instant and then, with a downward turn of that quarter-moon mouth, transform herself into a cold, surly caution. Her character is a grifter -- an actress on the stage of her own life -- and Moreau does a brilliant job of capturing her vain self-awareness.

It's in the toss of her platinum mane, the way she exhales cigarette smoke with theatrical elan and the arrogant, queenly roll of her hips as she enters a casino. There are great pleasures, as well, in Michel Legrand's score and Jean Rabier's fluid, evocative photography of the Cote d'Azur, but nothing to compare with Moreau's magnificent insolence.