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Umbrellas Of Cherbourg - 50th Anniversary Edition (2 Discs) [DVD] 
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Voted number 14 in The Guardian's Best Romantic Film of All Time.
Described by director Jacques Demy as ‘a film in song', the visually intoxicating The Umbrellas of Cherbourg pays homage to the Hollywood musical in this masterpiece of French New Wave cinema.
Guy Foucher (Nino Castelnuovo), a 20-year-old French auto mechanic, has fallen in love with 17-year-old Geneviève Emery (Catherine Deneuve: Belle de Jour), an employee in her widowed mother's chic but financially embattled umbrella shop. On the evening before Guy is to leave for a two-year tour of combat in Algeria, the pair share a passionate night. Geneviève becomes pregnant and then must choose between waiting for Guy's return or accepting an attractive offer of marriage from a wealthy diamond merchant (Marc Michel: Lola).
The packaging contains 2 discs.
Jacques Demy's haunting romantic musical is an enchanting, one-of-a-kind musical experience. It's basically a movie operetta, in which the characters sing all the dialogue (or, rather, lyrics--by director Demy) to Michel Legrand's lovely score. The story spans five years (1957-1962) in the life of Geneviéve (the ethereally beautiful Catherine Deneuve in the role that launched her to international stardom), the teenage daughter of a woman who owns a Cherbourg umbrella shop. After Geneviéve's boyfriend Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) is drafted and sent off to Algeria, she discovers she's pregnant and complications ensue. With its dazzling candy-coloured palette, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg looks sweet and dreamy. Restored and re-released in 1995 to rapturous acclaim and the renewed delight of all who got the chance to see it. The video release is taken from the restored version. --Jim Emerson, Amazon.com --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
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Musical cinema is not a genre that I am particularly drawn to, so the “dialogue” in Umbrellas of Cherbourg might have been a bit too much for me – but it wasn’t too much, and I did enjoy the film.
Where the film has been criticised for the very things that specifically make it what it is, I can empathise with those critics when such things as lack of plot, the style of the music, and even the colour of the imagery are what have been a disappointment for them, but all I can say is that I enjoyed it and was surprised to find that I did, and I enjoyed it mainly for the imagery, for the exaggerated colours which gave it a wonderful quality, and I also enjoyed it for the them tune which I also though was wonderful.
I watched it on a “Tartan DVD” issue of a 1992 release of the film and other than a “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” there wasn’t a great deal else, though there was a “Scene Selection” option and biographies of Catherine Deneuve, Jacques Dem (director) and Michel Legrand (composer), a brief Film Review from an “Empire” issue of 1997, and a Photo Gallery (of three photographs!). So from this Tartan edition not a great deal extra.
…but a great film!
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a remarkable film, both for its originality in being entirely sung throughout, and its psychological power. Unlike most opera, it really has a very astute handle on realities of every kind: romantic love, the effect of absence, war, the difficulty of readjusting to civilian life, the influence of older people, ambiguity of feeling on all fronts. Everything is very subtly portrayed, yet it has a concrete emphasis that arises out of the song itself, and the way it slows down the action to something archetypal, while filling it in with nuances and bright colours. Michel Legrand's music is key to its success, having a real impact on the emotions, and gliding from recitative to yearning melodies. The mother/daughter relationship is brilliantly handled, set against the brightest imaginable wallpapers and fabrics, the tone being both camp and straight. The influence of Max Ophuls's Madame de ... is clear in the jeweller's shop episode, as well as a continuation of the story set up in his own Lola, with a flashback to the amazing arcade in Nantes, here seen in colour ... The two suitors for the daughter, Genevieve, are wonderfully cast, adding to the heartbreak of the film, in that both are very worthy of love; in fact there are no villains here, only real life. Essentially, though, you can't help feeling that it is a tragedy of the kind that no doubt happens all too often, whatever the ambiguities of the outcome: that of being influenced by a well-meaning parent who made the same mistake herself, and who is projecting through her daughter her own unfulfilled desires, albeit unintentionally. At the heart of it all is Catherine Deneuve, combining prettiness and beauty in a way almost unmatched. She is so real in the emotional scenes, it is staggering, and her love with garage mechanic Guy is intensely romantic, and given the best tune. The film shifts in emphasis between its three parts, so that the mother and daughter feature in the second but hardly in the third ...
Of Jacques Demy's musicals this is the one that is the most famous, and it was also the first. It might be seen as the most realistic, in spite of the colours and the singing, where Les Demoiselles de Rochefort is a fantasy about ideal love, always deferred, and Une Chambre En Ville takes the full-on tragic tone, and is also through-sung. They make an extraordinary statement from a director whose heart must have been completely in this form.
I was somewhat uncertain as to whether I should buy this, seeing that it was from StudioCanal. I had read some disappointment-laden reviews of this company's Blu-ray edition of Akira Kurosawa's 'Ran', and thought that perhaps other films would fare badly under its treatment. However, this is not the case with 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (50th Anniversary Edition) Blu-ray', which delivers well in all respects.
The extra features are also worth mentioning, and well round out this package. Highly recommended.
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