Thursday, November 12, 2009

Les Parapluies de Cherbourg

Where was I -- in an elevator, at the piano bar? When I heard the strains of Michel Legrand's "I will wait for you" and had to run home and watch the Umbrellas of Cherbourg. It used to be when I watched this film, I only cried at the end. But then I started crying in the middle. Now I watch the opening credits, hear that song and suddenly burst into tears. What is wrong with me?

I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit that The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is my all time favorite film. It's not at all complex. It's a deceptively simple story, some would say silly. I mean, the frames are so colorful that the wallpaper should be considered another character (in one scene, her dress is made of the same pattern). A very young, supremely exquisite Catherine Deneuve stars, it's all in French, and did I forget to mention that it's not a musical---and yet every single last word of dialogue is...sung? There is nothing like it, before or since.

I have no idea how this rare thing somehow slipped through the cracks of any system and managed to get made at all. Perhaps it is the honesty. Life doesn't turn out the way you expect it to. Choices come with consequences that must be lived with. There is no Hollywood ending.

Instead, there is only that crushingly bittersweet finale at the Esso gas station in the snow. Oh my god just even thinking about it I. Can't. Hardly. Go. On.


Keith said...

I sometimes well up when I walk into the bathroom at the Neon in Dayton, OH. The Umbrellas poster is the 1st thing you see.

Catherine Deneuve in that movie is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

Cornelius said...

I thought Nino Castelnuovo who played Guy was walking sex when I first saw this film.

He kind of looks like the lead singer of Dashboard Confessional, Chris Carrabba.

Anonymous said...

This is possibly the most vivid memory of a movie that I have ever had. Why is it that so very many of our favorite, almost beloved movies have such a distressing conclusion? Movie nut P.S. compare this Catherine Deneuve with the one in The Hunger. How did that happen?