The Umbrellas of Cherbourg


Part of  The Films of Catherine Deneuve – Every Thursday in August! 

An angelic young Catherine Deneuve was launched to stardom by this dazzling, one-of-a-kind musical heart-tugger from French New Wave director Jacques Demy.

“A glorious romantic confection unlike any other in movie history … Deneuve seems like a pure distillation of youth and beauty.” – Desson Howe, Washington Post

In The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Deneuve (in her first major film role) plays Genevieve, an umbrella-shop owner’s delicate daughter, glowing with first love for a handsome garage mechanic named Guy (Nino Castelnuovo).  The young couple swears their eternal allegiance to one another, but when Guy is shipped off to fight in the Algerian war, the lovers must grow up quickly as the harsh realities of life intrude upon their idyllic relationship.   Exquisitely designed in a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors, and told entirely through the lilting songs of the great composer Michel Legrand, this unique film opera may be a musical, but it’s no fantasy, as Demy uses a highly stylized and entirely artificial aesthetic (patterned after classic Hollywood musicals) to underscore a complex, realistic and unsentimental love story that uses style to exalt the ordinary.  One of the most revered and unorthodox movie musicals of all time, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is an unforgettable cinematic experience. (Dir. by Jacques Demy, 1964, France, in French with subtitles, 91 mins., Not Rated)