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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

Les parapluies de Cherbourg (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 16 December 1964 (USA)
A young woman separated from her lover by war faces a life-altering decision.

Director:

Writer:

(scenario and dialogue)

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Ellen Farner ...
Madeleine
...
Tante Élise
Jean Champion ...
Aubin (as J. Champion)
Pierre Caden ...
Bernard (as P. Caden)
Jean-Pierre Dorat ...
Jean (as J.P. Dorat)
Bernard Fradet ...
Gas Station Apprentice (as B. Fradet)
Michel Benoist ...
Umbrella Buyer (as M. Benoist)
Philippe Dumat ...
Garage Customer in 1957 (as P. Dumat)
Dorothée Blanck ...
Girl in Cafe (as D. Blank)
Jane Carat ...
Ginny (as J. Carat)
Harald Wolff ...
Monsieur Dubourg
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Storyline

Told in four acts, the lives of Geneviève Emery and Guy Foucher of Cherbourg France are presented. Act 1 begins in November 1957, when sixteen year old Geneviève, who works in her widowed mother's umbrella shop called "Les parapluies de Cherbourg", and twenty year old Guy, who works as a mechanic at a gas station, are madly in love and want to get married. They are reluctant to tell anyone not only of their want to get married, but of their relationship. Geneviève believes her mother will think her too young, and would want her to marry someone with better prospects, especially considering her own tenuous financial situation. And Guy is more concerned now about not abandoning his ailing godmother, Aunt Élise, who raised him, and who he looks after along with a young woman named Madeleine. Act 2, told largely from Geneviève's perspective, begins in February 1958. Guy, drafted to fight for the French in Algeria, has been gone for two months, and is expected to be gone for two years. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

FOR ALL THE YOUNG LOVERS OF THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

16 December 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$18,425 (USA) (16 February 2004)

Gross:

$18,425 (USA) (16 February 2004)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(restored version) (1992)|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roland tells Genevieve's mother he once loved a woman named "Lola." "Lola" is a Demy film from 1961, in which Marc Michel plays the same character of Roland. See more »

Goofs

In act 1, the young couple go to the theater to see the opera Carmen. But the sound track that is used in this scene is definitely not from Carmen. It is just some stock sound track that sounds vaguely operatic. See more »

Quotes

Guy Foucher: Why didn't you tell me?
Aunt Élise: I didn't want to say anything. I thought you knew. You didn't suspect.
Guy Foucher: Of course, over the last few months. Her letters were not the same. She didn't answer my questions. She was writing without conviction. But marrying another man! I thought she was mad at me.
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Connections

Referenced in Love Songs (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bold Series of Uninterrupted Recitatives Constitute Demy's Brightly Colored But Sad Love Story
12 December 2005 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

In 1964, filmmaker Jacques Demy made an audacious move by directing a deceptively simple love story completely in song. I would be hard pressed to call this movie a musical, opera or even an operetta since there are neither show-stopping production numbers nor soul-bearing arias on the soundtrack. Instead, we are presented everyday dialogue in a series of recitatives that bring a dramatic urgency to the most mundane of events. Why it works is that the story is not the happy-go-lucky romance one would suspect it will be from the bright colors of the production but rather a melancholy tale of love unfulfilled and the tenuousness of longing in the face of harsh realities. It is a Gallic version of "Romeo and Juliet" by way of William Inge's tale of teenage lust, "Splendor in the Grass" (in fact, Demy's ending bears a striking resemblance to the last scenes of Elia Kazan's film three years earlier).

The plot focuses on teen-aged star-crossed lovers Genevieve and Guy, who develop a relationship through clandestine meetings despite the disapproval of Genevieve's mother, who thinks a gas station mechanic is beneath her daughter. The lovers eventually consummate their relationship once Guy finds he has been drafted to serve for France during the Algerian conflict. With Guy away, Genevieve discovers she is pregnant and must decide whether to wait for Guy's uncertain return or marry the rich diamond dealer, Roland Cassard, her mother's preference given the failing business of her umbrella shop. The story develops in subtle strokes almost like a Yasujiro Ozu film in that there aren't really any melodramatic confrontation scenes but instead moments of revelation. The wondrous Catherine Deneuve, all of twenty, had her first important role as Genevieve, and it's no wonder her career seems assured from her ethereal performance. With his earthy good looks and open-hearted manner, Nino Castelnuovo complements Deneuve as Guy, and their romance is palpable even in an amusingly contrived shot where they are obviously on a conveyor belt moving down the street. Anne Vernon lends a robust presence as Genevieve's mother as she plots her daughter's fate, and Marc Michel is appropriately bland as Roland.

Along with the vibrant colors faithfully recaptured in a 1996 restoration, such artifices really add to the film's charm. However, just as essential is Michel Legrand's score with his swooning romanticism at its most cinematic (and a precursor to the music he composed for Barbra Streisand's 1983 "Yentl"), as it fills the dramatic arcs from start to finish. You will likely recognize the lounge standard melodies for the Americanized translations, "I Will Wait for You" and "Watch What Happens", as they are pervasive through the recitatives. I enjoyed the movie very much but realize this will not be everyone's cup of tea, especially those already alienated by the musical genre. One can see this as an even more exaggerated form, but you can probably tell by the first two minutes whether you will be enraptured by it. The DVD also includes an excerpt from Demy's widow Agnes Varda's illuminating 1995 documentary, "The World of Jacques Demy".


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