I’ve always thought that The Pied Piper fairy tale would make for an amazing film. The sinister nature of the protagonist’s actions (leading the children away) and the bohemians vs. feudal “the man” nature of the tale appear ripe for an interesting go on the big screen. Indeed, I, and I believe I can safely say, we, at the Boston Hassle/Compass feel a deep connection with this Piper of lore, and his mind-freeing course of action.
Eventually, I learned that French New Wave outsider (and husband of Agnès Varda) Jacques Demy had already tackled the story! A 1972 production (following directly his other fairy tale film, which has made the rounds in recent years, DONKEY SKIN (1970)), his Piper is played by Donovan (!) who sings a number of songs here, and has been universally panned for his performance. But do not be deterred, for this film also features Donald Pleasence, John Hurt, and Roy Kinnear as well as some wonderful, haunting visuals and costumes.
Removed from Demy’s most highly regarded work, THE PIED PIPER may be a little messy, and is certainly somewhat odd. But of course, that’s just about how I like it. And still I wait for the ultimate, dark adaptation of this story to appear projected before me. THE PIED PIPER screens as part of what I believe to be a complete or near complete retrospective series of the director’s work. May I also suggest spending an evening with his A SLIGHTLY PREGNANT MAN (1973), which stars the ever wonderful and enchanting Catherine Deneuve, icon of cool Marcello Mastroianni, and yes, an absurd comic premise.
THE PIED PIPER (1972) DIR. JACQUES DEMY
12/14 – 5:00PM
Harvard Film Archive
24 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138