The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

Cinema Classics Seminar: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Not Your Average Musical
Thursday, July 11, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Instructor: Maurizio Giammarco, Ph.D., Intellectual Heritage Program, Temple University
Location: Multimedia Room
Cost: $25 for members, $35 for non-members; includes admission to the film
Register Now

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) opens on a charming note: the camera tilts down onto the Cherbourg waterfront as a light rain begins and pastel umbrellas seen from above begin a dance that ends with them filling the screen. This moment suggests that director Jacques Demy has more in common with the directors of classic Hollywood musicals such as Stanley Donen and Vincente Minnelli than he does with his peers in the French New Wave; yet, the opposite is true. For this reason, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg represents a milestone in cinema. It is, as Demy described it, “a film in song,” incorporating elements of past screen musicals, as well as staged operettas, all set to the rich, evocative score by Michel Legrand.

But in true French New Wave fashion, it also reimagines the notion of what a musical should be. It depicts the uplifting young love between Genevieve (Catherine Deneuve) and Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) while examining loss and fallibility. Demy's painterly vision of the seaside town is a loving tribute to Hollywood musicals, but Cherbourg also addresses issues of real consequence, including unexpected pregnancy, class divides, and the Algerian War. With this film, Demy creates the perfect synthesis: camera movement, color, and song combine to create a Hollywood musical aesthetic that depicts a grounded, contemporary love story—the influence of which lives on in the films of Wes Anderson, Barry Jenkins, and Damien Chazelle.

Sessions · Click to add to calendar
  • Thursday, July 11
    6:30pm 2019-07-11 18:30:00 2019-07-11 21:30:00 America/New_York Cinema Classics Seminar: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA