The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies De Cherbourg)

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(out of 5)


Taking the conventions of the musical genre and using a tragic storybook romance as a basis, director Jacques Demy and composer Michel Legrand present a fully-sung story about a young umbrella seller () who falls in love with a garage mechanic () and wants to marry him.  As in so many stories of this ilk (The Cranes Are Flying, Fanny), he leaves for army duty not knowing she is pregnant, forcing her to marry someone she doesn’t love in order to save her good name. Gorgeous, ridiculously colourful wallpapers abound, bathing everything in queasy bright hues, while the music curiously never breaks out into any super dance numbers or grand productions. Instead, it’s all kept at a realistic minimum, almost as if singing were the most perfectly natural way for people to express themselves. It’s a great experiment that under Demy’s direction works completely (better than his more traditional musical follow up, The Young Girls Of Rochefort), and also manages to bring out the most romantic lover in all of us. This was Deneuve’s international debut, and the world has been in love with her ever since.


, ,

France/West Germany, 1964

Directed by

Screenplay by Jacques Demy

Cinematography by

Produced by Mag Bodard

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by ,

Film Festivals:  Cannes 1964

The Criterion Collection

Academy Award Nominations
Best Foreign Language Film (France) (1964)
Best Music (Music Score–Substantially Original) (Michel Legrand, Jacques Demy) (1965)
Best Music (Scoring of music–adaptation or treatment) (Michel Legrand) (1965)
Best Music (Song) (“I Will Wait For You”), music by Michel Legrand; lyrics by Jacques Demy; English lyrics by Norman Gimbel) (1965)
Best Writing (Story and Screenplay–written directly for the screen) (Jacques Demy) (1965)

Golden Globe Award Nomination
Best Foreign-Language Foreign Film (France)

Cannes Film Festival Award
Palme D’Or


One thought on “The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies De Cherbourg)

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