Jacques Demy’s (A Room in Town, The Young Girls of Rochefort) 1964 all-sung masterpiece launched Catherine Deneuve into stardom and remains one of the most romantic films to emerge from the French New Wave era.
Catherine Deneuve plays Geneviève, a teenage girl working in her mother’s umbrella shop, whose mechanic lover is drafted to fight in Algeria. Pregnant with his child and wistfully pining for his return, she also attracts the eye of a quiet young jeweller, Roland Cassard (Marc Michel), whom her mother slowly persuades her is a more eligible suitor.
Described by Jacques Demy as “a film in song”, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg achieved the perfect fusion, creating a total musical in which camera movement, décor and song are in unique harmony with one another, becoming a major influence on directors including Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel).
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