Month O' Musicals: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Vital Stats:
Year: 1964
Director: Jacques Demy
Stars: the beautiful Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon, Marc Michel
Music by: Michel Legrand
Language: French, with subtitles

Genevieve, the daughter of an umbrella shop owner, and Guy, an auto mechanic, are in love. But can their love survive the separation forced upon them when Guy is drafted and goes off to war?

Memorable Moments:
As all the dialogue is sung, there are no musical numbers in the film, but one haunting recurring musical theme is the song "I Will Wait For You". Also notable: the film's use of gorgeous, vibrant colors.

What I love about it:
Even though every conversation is done in song, this never feels forced because the feelings expressed have a very natural flow. Here are two examples of how the lines go from one thought to another: "Guy, I love you./You smell like gasoline.", "Do you love me?/A mambo, let's go!/I should have changed shoes." I love the way this captures a sense of mundane reality even though everything is spoken musically.

Also interesting to me is the way Catherine Deneuve's character changes hair styles throughout the film. There's a study there as she progresses from an innocent young girl (hair pulled up and away from her face), to a wiser woman (hair done more naturally and covering more of her face), to an older woman of changed status (with an elaborate updo).

The whole movie is not only beautiful to the eyes but also a poignant, mesmerizing look at love and how it is impacted by outside pressures and circumstances. It's a work of art.


Raquelle said...

I'm very impressed on how you've been keeping this Month O' Musicals going. Keep up the good work! I look forward to these when they pop up on my reader.

Wendymoon said...

Thanks for the encouragement!

TheMovieNess said...

This is one of my all time favourites! I could start crying just by hearing the music...I agree on the normality of the conversations. Its great. It feels like someone wrote this screenplay and then just converted it into song! I do really love the colours in this film.

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