The Umbrellas of CherbourgThe Umbrellas of Cherbourg
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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

A young couple's love is tested when the man is sent to serve in the military, leading to a complicated situation involving a diamond merchant.


Why watch this film?

Part two in French filmmaker Jacques Demy's informal romantic trilogy (begun with Lola), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg continues the director's experimentation with the idea of a full musical, where songs completely take the place of dialogue from start to finish, in combination with naturalistic performances as a counterpoint to an extremely colorful and artificial, almost saccharine production design. For those accustomed to the Hollywood musical formula, this may seem strange, even uncomfortable. However, the effect achieved by Demy is one of profound emotionality and, paradoxically, feels less artificial, perfect for telling this story about the earnestness of a young girl's (Catherine Deneuve) first love who is separated from her beloved boyfriend (Nino Castelnuovo) by his enlistment for war in Algeria, sending their lives on tragically separate paths. Winner of the Cannes Palme d'Or, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg remains one of the most singular musicals in history.



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Plot summary

16-year-old Genevieve and 20-year-old Guy are very much in love. Her kind mother, who runs an umbrella shop, won't hear of her marrying, particularly as Guy has yet to complete his compulsory military service. Genevieve is heartbroken when he leaves for his army service in colonial Algeria and is upset to have received only one letter from him in two months. Her mother's solution to this situation is kind diamond-merchant Roland Cassard, who has helped them in the past.

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