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The radiant young Catherine Deneuve was launched to stardom by Jacques Demy's exuberant, enthralling, and ever-enchanting musical classic.
Anticipating our Jacques Demy retrospective next summer, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is both the ideal introduction to the director's world and an ever-enchanting favourite, to be seen and savoured for the umpteenth time. A radiant young Catherine Deneuve, in a star-making performance, plays Geneviève, who falls in love with handsome auto mechanic Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) to the despair of her ambitious, widowed mother. When Guy is drafted for service in the Algerian War (one of the film's many subtle political points), the film turns into a rhapsody of absence, longing, and loss. Art-designed from stem to stern (watch the wallpaper!), with choreography that evokes classic MGM musicals, and awash in Michel Legrand's stirring, melodic score-every line of dialogue is sung — Umbrellas is exuberant, enthralling, and unbearably poignant, but also dark, modern, death-haunted, and acute about both family and class relations. "A masterpiece... a heartfelt, passionate, tragic musical suite" (Jonathan Rosenbaum).