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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, more...
Director: Jacques Demy, Jacques Demy
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Studio: Koch Lorber Films
Genre: Foreign, France, Musicals
Running Time: 92 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
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Jacques Demy's 1964 masterpiece is a pop-art opera, or, to borrow the director's own description, a film in song. This simple romantic tragedy begins in 1957. Guy Foucher (Nino Castelnuovo), a 20-year-old French auto mechanic, has fallen in love with 17-year-old Geneviève Emery (a luminous Catherine Deneuve), 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 (Marc Michel, reprising his role from Demy's masterful debut, Lola). A completely sung movie, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is closest in form to a cinematic opera. Composer Michel Legrand composed the score, modeling it around the patterns of everyday conversation. Umbrellas was re-released in 1997. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Poignant and poppy and covered with Catherine Deneuve... by monstress July 8, 2005 - 5:36 PM PDT
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful
You'd think a film wherein all dialogue is sung would bug the crap out of you, right? Maybe not, maybe not at all. This is by far one of the lovliest french films of the 60s-the colors are so sweet your teeth hurt, the actors move like dancers, and the tragic/mundane ending crescendoes like an operatic death. This is a way better movie than Les Jumelles de Rochefort, which quite frankly sets my teeth on edge it is so campy.

And don't even get me started on Deneuve. Grrrrr-owl, that woman is preternaturally hot as all get out!

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.42)
329 Votes
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Moveline's 100 Best Foreign Films
This list was published in Moveline's July 1996 issue.
Singing in the Face of Adversity
dark musicals - song & dance numbers amidst plots involving conflict, persecution, personal sacrifice, loss, etc - list is open to suggestions!

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