Demy Monde: Bay of Angels

(Baie des anges)
(France, 1963, 79 mins, DCP)
In French with English subtitles
CAST Jeanne Moreau, Claude Mann


Jean (Claude Mann) arrives in Nice (the "bay of angels") for a holiday. He discovers gambling and meets platinum-blonde Jackie (Jeanne Moreau), a high roller at the casino. Sparks fly between them and passion grows. But is it for one another, or for the game? Jean, still naive, begins his education.

Demy’s second film is a triumph of style, from Raoul Coutard’s mobile camerawork amid sun-splashed Riviera locations to Moreau, resplendent in white lacy bustier, flashing across a succession of mirrors in the penultimate shot.

"So existential, so romantic … The great beauty of [Bay] is the way the croupier’s spiraling wheel becomes a metaphor not for life’s randomness, but for its lack of permanence, its riskiness[:] [a] hardened demimondaine can bet on a number and suddenly abandon it to dash after her beloved — an ecstatic ending a few films later revealed as the cause of another heroine’s melancholy" (Fernando F. Croce).