The angelically beautiful Catherine Deneuve was launched to stardom by this dazzling musical heart-tugger from Jacques Demy.
She plays an umbrella-shop owner’s delicate daughter, glowing with first love for a handsome garage mechanic, played by Nino Castelnuovo. When the boy is shipped off to fight in Algeria, the two lovers must grow up quickly.
Exquisitely designed in a kaleidoscope of colours, and told entirely through lilting songs by the great composer Michel Legrand, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of the most revered and unorthodox movie musicals of all time.
The film was a clear influence on Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, both in its colour palette and in its fusion of the realistic and the fairytale. As with La La Land, Demy manages to cut to the quick of the realities of love, never forgetting that the giddy heights caused by Cupid’s arrow can also send us crashing back down to earth.
Screening as part of BFI Musicals! The Greatest Show on Screen, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery, BFI Film Audience Network and ICO. bfimusicals.co.uk
“There ain’t no use flappin’ your wings, ’cause we are stuck in the flypaper of life!”
Directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca) this heartwarming Christmas tale is a true joy to watch and includes a veritable treasury of Irving Berlin classic tunes.