The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Watching Jacques Demy's most famous work is like viewing some secret history of cinema, where all words are sung and all sights are candy-coated, where the French New Wave and the MGM musical dwell hand in hand in a sixties-chic Eastmancolor paradise of Pop Art and popsicle colors. The plot? A boy and girl love, lose, love again, and lose again against an assortment of fabulous wallpaper. In the role that made her a star, the then twenty-year-old Catherine Deneuve seems more hologram of beauty than earthly being, floating through a lilac-and-strawberry-painted world where love is all around, characters' clothes match their apartment walls, and gas station attendants serenade customers with a Michel Legrand–penned song (“Fill it up, Ma…dame? Suuu-per? Or Stan-dard?”). For those who love the sixties, French culture, Deneuve, Demy, design, romance, musicals, or cinema itself, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg stands alone, unmatched.

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