The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg ★★★★½

After seeing two black and white Demy films the switch to color felt like a dream. This whole film is brimming with pastel goodness and garish wallpapers in sweet harmony. It’s a rich color palette always perfectly realized, yet it never feels too stylized or unnatural. Somehow the same goes for the films experimental musical style. A constant, lush jazz score accompanies the entire film as the characters sing every line, yet the actors feel and act naturally. Somehow it never feels staged, even once you realize how elaborately blocked the film is, with lines of sung dialogue revealing the precise timing required by each actor in terms of logistics. The whole film is like a dream, although it drags a little towards the end of the second act the finale is one for the history books. A bittersweet romantic tale filled with heartbreak and longing, but with a sensible head on its shoulders. It feels like a mature statement on love and romanticism while still residing in the magic land of movies. A stylistic triumph as well as a real tear jerker. And Catherine Deneuve is just gorgeous here. No wonder she became a star.