Directed by Jacques Demy (France, 1964, 95 min.). Digital. French with English subtitles.
Winner of the top prize at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival, and nominated for several Academy Awards, this heart-wrenching musical introduced an international audience to the angelic Catherine Deneuve. Geneviève (Deneuve) is a salesclerk at a French umbrella shop who falls for a dashing mechanic named Guy (Nino Castelnuovo). Their whirlwind romance is cut short when Guy is called to duty in the Algerian War. A dazzling homage to Hollywood that had a palpable influence on later musicals including La La Land, Umbrellas is considered to be “the fullest expression of [Demy’s] career-long fascination with the entwining of real life, chance, and the bewitching artifice of cinematic illusion” (The Criterion Collection). This sense of artifice is achieved with elaborate, candy-colored sets, inviting viewers to delight in the film’s pretty surface before unleashing a deluge of very real emotion.
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