Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon, Marc Michel, Ellen Farner, Mireille Perrey,
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Extras: Geoff Andrew on Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, Virginie Ledoyen on Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, Once Upton A Time… The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, The World Of Jacques Demy, The Restoration of The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, Stills Gallery, Trailer, Trailer (2013), Audio Interview with Catherine Deneuve,
In the extras for THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, director Jacques Demy declares he wanted to make a film to make people cry. No doubt he will succeed at making many do so thanks to this decadent and turbulent story of first love set over 7 years. Funnily enough though, Demy also decides to make it an incredibly bright and colourful affair in which every line of dialogue is sung rather than spoken.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG is presented in this beautifully restored Blu-ray that brings the entire film to life and makes it look as good as new. Guy (Castelnuovo) and Genevieve (Deneuve) are young lovers who spend time together despite Genevieve’s mother’s (Vernon) protests. Guy is drafted into the army and Genevieve is left pregnant while a new suitor (Michel) enters the fray. Demy perfectly captures the excitement of first love, while also looking at how lives take different paths. He isn’t interested in announcing which decisions are the best ones, nor what would make people happiest. He merely presents the fact that in life there are many choices which can be just as good as another.
This mature look at first love, without judging the young protagonists, is a welcome change to the portrayal that it’s the be all and end all, and even though the end is truly powerful, it is not sappy or overblown in the slightest. Even though every actor is singing their lines, they are all more than capable of having subtle nuisances that soon make the singing seem as natural as anything else. The jauntiness to the lines adds to the pacing, before building up to slower and more dramatic recitations later on.
The gorgeous use of colour really explodes here, and once again solidifies the classical Hollywood feel that Demy was no doubt trying to recreate. It’s something a little bit more than real, and yet the themes, situations and outcomes are heavily based in reality.
For some, no amount of praise is going to convince them to digest a film entirely delivered in song, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You will certainly have to be in an accepting mood to truly become entranced by the whimsy before being torn apart by the bittersweet scenarios. But for those who want to see a meticulously crafted film that isn’t afraid to be both fantastical and down to earth, then you can’t do much better than THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG.
(5 / 5)THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG 50th Anniversary Edition is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 10th February.