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The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg: Special Edition (2 Discs)

Released on 10 October 2005

Featuring: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo & Anne Vernon

Format: DVD | Rating: PG

5.0 out of 5 (1 customer review) | Write a review

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Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival, 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg' is an unforgettable story of a lost love!

Set in the French seaside town of Cherbourg, the all-sung dialogue tells the story of shop-girl Genevieve (Catherine Deneuve) who discovers that she is pregnant after her garage mechanic boyfriend, Guy (Nino Castelnuovo), is drafted to fight in the Algerian war. She marries the decent and honourable diamond merchant, Roland Cassard (Marc Michel), but lives with the knowledge that her true love lies elsewhere...

The film is a feast of colour in the tradition of the MGM musical; every scene is colour co-ordinated down to the costumes matching the wallpaper. Deneuve, in her first screen role, has never looked as beautiful. With a soundtrack co-ordinated by Agnes Varda (Jacques Demy's wife) and Michel Legrand, composer and conductor of the gloriously evocative score, 'The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg' stands out as one of the most vibrant and visually arresting films ever made.
  • Digitally restored and remastered
  • 'The World of Jacques Demy' documentary (90 mins)
  • Short film scored by Michel LeGrand
  • Introduction by film critic and NFT programmer Geoff Andrew

customer Reviews

 Average rating (1 review)

 Beautiful and charming, the original 'indie' movie

| | See all lascenara17's reviews (97)

Nestled snugly in the rich New Wave period of French cinema, Demy's unusual musical is experimental film making at its must sublimely joyous.
The most noticeable things about the film are its method of musical delivery and its striking visual compostion. With a distinctly French spin the high artifice of a typical MGM number is transferred to the rain-sodden cobbles of Cherbourg in the late 1950s. The big twist comes that there are no actual songs at all; instead all the dialogue is simply sung, which comes across as a fusion between opera and cinema. This technique spruces up the mundane, basically ordinary nature of the dialogye giving them musical emotion. Nothing lyrical about these lyrics, it's simply banal chatter delivered in a high C.
The look of 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg' is tailored to dazzle the eye. Far from being blatantly fake, the colours of everythign are made that little more brighter creating a palette of various hues that doesn't seem out of place. Sumptuous to look at and to listen to the film's real strength is its stirring of emotions. The singing gives the usual conversations of tepid drama a cinematic reality and brings out the emotion of every word as good as any Method acting with the voice. The drama has a real gripping puul on it that draws the viewer in powerfully. Most musicals offer unending escapist joy but unrealistic characters; this, despite everyone singing, sticks them all in a believable world of army drafts, unwanted pregnancies and awkward rituals of love. At once playful and serious, it's an involving combination that wants to share with the viewer rather than simply show. It's easy to feel the same as the characters, be they Guy, Genevieve or both, and even harder not to get tears in your eyes when hearing words put to that belter of a main theme.
The most rare of cinematic treasures, a film that entertains and has the heart and head to go with it.

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ActorsCatherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon, Marc Michel, Ellen Farner & Mireille Perrey
DirectorJacques Demy
ScreenWidescreen 1.66:1 Anamorphic
LanguagesFrench - Dolby Digital (2.0) Stereo
Duration1 hour and 27 minutes (approx)
RegionRegion 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.