A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
a film for all the young lovers of the world
This simple romantic tragedy begins in 1957. Guy Foucher, a 20-year-old French auto mechanic, has fallen in love with 17-year-old Geneviève Emery, an employee in her widowed mother's chic but financially embattled umbrella shop. On the evening before Guy is to leave for a two-year tour of combat in Algeria, he and Geneviève make love. She becomes pregnant and must choose between waiting for Guy's return or accepting an offer of marriage from a wealthy diamond merchant.
When I was growing up in the 60’s, if my Dad wasn’t practicing piano, or we weren’t watching TV in the evening, the radio was always on. Now, being the mid-sixties, you would expect this would be a smorgasbord of Beatles, Stones, The Birds, and an assortment of early hippy fodder. Not so on CFRB 1010 AM, the station my parents listened to. CFRB was a conservative ‘adult’ radio station. In 1964 you would be very likely to hear Dean Martin, and very unlikely to hear The Beatles except maybe as part of the newscast reporting on how teenagers were losing their minds en masse.
One of the most likely songs you’d bump into was I’ll wait for you
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is something of an outlier in the French New Wave canon. It's predominantly a jazz opera, highly influenced by American musicals, and yet maintains a unique sensibility that defined new wave cinema. It's shot primarily on location in Cherbourg, but the real-life locations have been given an artifice through lurid Technicolor, studio-lighting, post-modern graffiti and a pastiche of delightfully outrageous costume choices.
This could be a loose adaptation of Pagnol's Fanny trilogy, or just as easily a musical rendering of Kazan's Splendor in the Grass filtered through the pastels of West Side Story.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg remains an utterly unique, delectable treat for the senses.
The idea of singing every single line of dialogue seems ostensibly ridiculous, so how did Jacques Demy make it seem as if there was never any other way of performing a musical? And not just your standard whimsical, epic romance. The story of Guy and Genevieve reminds us of the unforgiving nature of circumstance in a world drenched with vibrant technicolor. Melancholy has rarely looked so beautiful.
An opening Count Basie style swing number sends us finger clicking into a beautifully shot, Technicolor-land of yellows, blues and greens. When a young elegant Catherine Deneuve glides onscreen to complete the other half of this handsome couple, the spell being cast upon us is in full effect.…
Soothing, mournful, and delightful exhilaration from the first frame to the last. Didn't know that The Umbrellas of Cherbourg was actually a non-stop musical, but after that initial jarring moment, I was completely on board. It's a typical story of romance and adolescent passion laid against the harsh realities of the world, but every blooming color, gentle glance and sudden burst of cinematic exuberance swept me into a snuggling ball of warmth.
Every performance, musical note, and display of filmmaking technique culminates in a truly stirring experience, and by the end, I was crying and contemplating and smiling and experiencing all kinds of feelings.
If every other Demy film is like this, then I don't think I'll be able to take it.
I dislike musicals for the most part, but what I really hate are musicals that sing "pass the salt". That drives me batty. Musical numbers, you know, song and dance type of stuff ok if necessary, but singing dialogue? Ouch.
This was singing dialogue.
So you can imagine what the rest of the film was like for me to rate it so highly.
I thought Wong kar-wai owned reds and greens but boy he's got nothing on Jacques Demy's production designer. The colours are crazy, almost cartooney there for a while. In fact the first act is so bubblegum that you wonder if you should take it seriously but while you are making your decision something about it all comes…
“I can’t live without him. I’ll die.” “Stop crying. Look at me. People only die of love in movies.”
The beauty of the classical Hollywood movie musical—a uniquely American art form if ever there were one—is its intrinsic artificiality. People simply do not express their innermost feelings in instantly composed song, nor do strangers break into perfectly choreographed spontaneous dance. But choosing such an unreal mode of expression permits the musical to give voice to profoundly real emotions often left unspoken, deepening their impact.
Of course, we Americans can only take these ersatz outbursts in limited doses. The French know no such inhibitions. If an isolated song can accentuate the emotional intensity of young lovers’ adulation or heartbreak, then surely…
. . . mais, c'est étrange, le soleil et la mort voyagent ensemble.
*Alias: Demy Justifies "Tone Color"'s Metaphoric Value, Makes Terms Reversible
*So many matches on color—usually decorating insignificant objects or figures—to transition between scenes/spaces/registers/motifs, they may as well be contrapuntal extensions of the score.
*Note toward a Classical-Musical/Opera-in-reverse— emphasize most heightened emotion, despair, not with song or swelling score, but most terrible, local sounds: banal train whistle, lowing foghorn, street-clatter, commerce. Stuff the rest with singing.
Here's the painting Cassard compares with Geneviève, Fouquet's "Virgin with Child." The influence on Cherbourg's set design/otherworldly-realism is unmistakable.
Gorgeous. French. Emotionally Traumatizing. 5 Stars!
This is the content I like to watch. Cute little French musicals that make you feel great, a little song here, some romance here! Oh and the fact the last half of it tore me apart emotionally. Beautifully crafted and exceptionally made, it never gets bothersome with being sung through. I think it's perfect. I think I love it.
Yes, "I will wait for you" is a decent song, - and the ending is solid, but IMO the lavish sets/constant singing kind of take away from the acting - and it all ends up just feeling so fake.
It just seems like it could be easily parodied - singing about mundane things. (Like an SNL skit or something.)
Quite simply one of the most beautiful and melancholy love stories ever committed to film. Demy has such a specific understanding of the way film can make us move so powerfully from intense desire to feel regret and longing. Demy working in conjunction with Michael Legrand crafts a dream of a relationship, captures it and alters it with beautiful melodies. Simply breathtaking.
"Are you all right?"
"Yes, I am fine."
Distinct Shades of Purple Utilized by the Set Department>5
Your mother was right. As much as you hate to admit it, she was right and it sucks.
Um filme de um tom só dificilmente se sustenta só com um drama levemente convincente. Bonito e forte, como um perfume exageradamente doce.
If singing bothers you, then don't watch this movie. Otherwise, you will absolutely fall in love with this beautiful film with the most visually splendid sets and costumes I've ever seen and a luminous young Catherine Deneuve.
This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…