All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
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.…
“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…
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…
My Jacques Demy boxset arrived in the mail, and I didn't waste any time diving into it - starting with his most popular film. The fact that I had heard so many great things about his films, even before Criterion released this boxset, meant that I had to get properly acquainted. Blind-buying a boxset is a risky venture but I had a good feeling I wouldn't be let down.
Starting with The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, I was hit with the realization that this film is not just a musical in the traditional sense (which is all I knew going in), but a film that's entirely sung! The charcter's body language and tonal swings reflected in song just as they would…
An extract from my piece 'Umbrellas and Pebbles' written for The Focus Pull; you can view it here. www.thefocuspull.com/features/umbrellas-and-pebbles-demy-and-frost/
“I would have died for him. So why aren’t I dead?” So lilts Catherine Deneuve’s Geneviève, pregnant and separated from her young lover, Guy (Nino Castelnuovo), who has been drafted into the Algerian War. They’ve promised each other that they would wait, but times are desperate. Geneviève’s mother has financial problems and a charming suitor named Roland (Marc Michel, reprising his role from Demy’s debut film Lola) is ready to take responsibility for the unborn child, while Guy’s letters are detached and infrequent. The melody slows and the key shifts in a reprise of Michel Legrand’s infinitely tragic love theme, bringing…
Stunning, the most melancholy Technicolor* film I've seen. As great as its reputation.
A candy-colored bummer about the bittersweet collision of young love and pragmatic reality.
Probably wasn't a good idea to watch deneuve play a cute innocent 16-year-old right after watching her erotic thriller. Someone once said it's easy to make colors look pretty, but hard to give them meaning. This is a excellent example of that, Although I do like the pretty colors. Great ending doe
what a tragic crown
"People only die of love in movies." ~ Madame Emery
Director Jacques Demy's musical romance has more in common with classic opera than it does with Broadway or Hollywood. There are no big production numbers, no fancy footwork and no show-stopping songs. The characters sing their dialog to move the plot along, and composer Michel Legrand's score provides a musical accompaniment throughout.
The story is thinly linked to Demy's debut film "Lola" (1961). For example, we get to find out what Roland Cassard (Marc Michel) was carrying in that briefcase he took to South Africa, but otherwise it's a fresh cast in a new location and a very different set of situations. The film is divided into three parts --…
This mini-series is more of a greatest hits sampler than a full portrait of the great Catherine Deneuve: Sadly missing from the series are any of Deneuve's collaborations with André Téchiné, Arnaud Desplechin, or Manoel de Oliveira, which are among her best work, or any of her lesser-known, but still fascinating, collaborations with François Truffaut (MISSISSIPPI MERMAID) or Jacques Demy (DONKEY SKIN). Yet it's hard to argue with most of these selections, which make for great viewing on a big screen. In particular, THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964, 91 min, 35mm; Sunday, 2 and 5:50pm) is always worth revisiting in a theater, as Demy's brilliant mise-en-scene—rich in both realistic observation and imaginative color—is so detailed that you find new things…
Pre 70s month film #5
I can't believe how much this film did right. In theory the idea of every line being sung doesn't sound appealing to me much at all, but after only 10 or so minutes I was absolutely loving it. All the music is fantastic and the dialogue just flows perfectly with it.
But god damn, if that wasn't enough then there's the colours. This is literally the most beautiful use of colours I have ever seen. The cinematography is just fantastic and every scene is overflowing with colour.
A wonderful story, with beautiful visuals and some damn good music.
i cant write a review of this i have to sing it
Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!