The feature-length directorial debut of actor Mathieu Demy—the son of eminent filmmakers Jacques Demy and Agnès Varda—is both a touching homage to the oeuvre of his parents and a project that evinces his own promising vision. Demy plays Martin, a Parisian real estate agent in his late 30s. After he receives news of his mother’s death, he flies to Los Angeles, her home for the past several decades, to settle her affairs. As Martin heads to the States, he is flooded with memories about his childhood years living with Emilie in her Venice Beach bungalow—flashbacks that are culled directly from his own mother’s Documenteur (1981), a semiautobiographical film starring an eight-year-old Demy. Martin next sets out for Tijuana, where he is in search of a woman named Lola, to whom Emilie bequeathed her home. “Lola” is a name of great significance: it is the title of Jacques’s first film, from 1961, starring Anouk Aimée as a cabaret performer in Nantes; Lola/Aimée would reappear in the LA-set Model Shop (1968), Demy père’s only film made in the US. One of cinema’s most melancholic dreamers, the elder Demy (who died in 1990) transformed the simplest of emotions into epics. Mathieu follows suit in this impressive first film.

“Americano is thus something of a sequel, in which certain moods and implications of his mother’s film — the loneliness that can seem almost like a geographical fact of American life, the distance that can invade even the most intimate relationships — are revisited and revised. Though not explicitly autobiographical, this film is deeply personal, and while the nature of cinema is very much on its mind, it rarely feels insular or self-conscious. Instead, it is wistful and nostalgic, and at the same time full of restless curiosity.”
A.O. Scott, New York Times

Mathieu Demy

Mathieu Demy

Martin: Mathieu Demy
Linda: Geraldine Chaplin
Claire: Chiara Mastroianni
Luis: Carlos Bardem
‘Lola’: Salma Hayek

LANGUAGE French, Spanish, English
PRODUCTION France, 2011
RATING Not Rated
FORMAT(S) 35, Blu-ray

MPI Pictures