‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’

A beguiling sugar candy tale of love and loss entirely sung and with a young Catherine Deneuve is a delightful confection of early 1960s French cinema.

Operatic romanticism as 16 year-old Geneviève (Catherine Deneuve – Indochine, Belle de jour) falls in love with car mechanic Guy (Nino Castelnuovo – The English Patient, Rocco & His Brothers). But her mother (Anne Vernon – Bel ami, Il conte Max), the owner of the struggling umbrella shop, refuses to consider marriage – particularly as Guy has yet to complete his military service. When the young lovers are parted by his call up to serve in Algeria, mom uses the opportunity to introduce her now pregnant daughter to the wealthy yet kind-hearted diamond merchant, Roland Cassard (Marc Michel – Lola, Le trou).

Touching and ageless (directed by Jacques Demy – The Young Girls of Rochefort, Lola with a score by Michele LeGrande – Yentl, The Thomas Crown Affair), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a very French, very idiosyncratic musical that is both whimsical and charismatic.

Nominated for best foreign language film Oscar in 1965, nominated for 4 Oscars in 1966 including best original script and score. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival.

Rating: 74%

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