Fellow Film Club Members & Movie Buffs:
The theme for March is “Lasting Love–in all its forms and guises; sweet, bitter,
Yes, March is upon us, and the chill of winter is ebbing. Spring will debut on March 20th, the evening of our Club Discussion night–a lovely co-incidence. Join the Tacoma Film Club this Friday, March 8, 2013 for our screening of Jacques Demy’s incredible Pop-Art Opera
THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964). Demy had a life-long love affair with theater and Hollywood cinema. He was certainly influenced by the French New Wave movement, but he decided to create a self-contained fantasy world, closer to Truffaut than to Godard, heavily drawing on musicals, fairy tales, and the Golden Age of Hollywood. This was by far his biggest success. His death at 59 prevented us from knowing if his career would have had a second peak. His favorite locale was the French Atlantic coast of his childhood. He directed 22 films from 1951-1988, but the first decade he did mostly shorts and documentaries. Some of his films included LOLA (1961), THE BAY OF ANGELS (1963), THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT (1967), and DONKEY SKIN (1970).
Trivia: Demy was married to fellow film director Agnes Varda. UMBRELLAS was digitally restored and reissued to acclaim in 1998. This was the first film musical to be entirely sung. Demy elevated a basic kitchen sink New Wave realism theme into a soaring opera filled with bittersweet passion and playful charm. When Roland Cassard, the rich suitor, tells Genevieve’s mother that he had once been in love with a woman named Lola, this refers to another Demy film, LOLA (1961), with Anouk Aimee, in which actor Marc Michel played the same character of Roland. The film marked the debut of a 20 year old Catherine Deneuve, who won a Best Actress Award at Cannes for her role.
Roger Ebert wrote, “Far from being featherweight romanticism, UMBRELLAS is unexpectedly sad and wise, an honest reflection on the way true love sometimes does not conquer all.”
The film score was written by Michel Legrand, a long time Demy collaborator. Legrand is a three time Oscar winner, winning his first one for THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1968). He has composed 194 movie scores, and hundreds of albums of jazz, popular, and classical music. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s he was caught up in the French New Wave. As well as several films with Demy, he scored 7 films for Jean-Luc Godard.
In the late 60’s he relocated to Hollywood, and enjoyed his biggest successes there, giving us scores for CASTLE KEEP (1969), THE GO-BETWEEN (1971) LE MANS (1971), LADY SINGS THE BLUES (72), ATLANTIC CITY (1980), and YENTL (1983).
Tim Brayton wrote, “ UMBRELLAS absurdly simple scenario has been raised to the level of highest excellence, and chief among these factors is surely Michel Legrand’s iconic score.”
The cinematography for this film was done by Jean Rebier, and he helped to further shape and define Demy’s trademark visual style with breathtaking shots of saturated super color, influenced by Hollywood’s vivid technicolor musical epics, where every detail in the shot, including neck ties, dresses, and wallpaper, were matching, selected for the maximum visual impact. Rebier lensed 66 films from 1961-1991, including
BAY OF ANGELS (1963), LE BOUCHER (1970), VIOLETTE (1978), and MADAME BOUVARY (1991)
THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964)
Written & Directed by Jacques Demy @ 91 minutes.
The film stars Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon,
and Mark Michel.
Synopsis: This is a straight forward love story divided into three acts–the beauty
of the film is in the telling; more specifically the singing of it. A young girls consummates
her love on the eve of her boyfriend’s departure for military service. The girl becomes
pregnant, and finds herself forced to marry a wealthy suitor. Years go by before the
couple meet again briefly, acknowledging their foibles.
Tagline: For all the young lovers in the wide, wide world.
The film was nominated for five Oscars.
ROTTEN TOMATOES reflected a 98% Critic’s approval, and an 86% Audience approval.
In VARIETY we read, “Demy has avoided too much sentimentality by his tasteful handling, and the right balance of emotion, compassion, and narrative.”
Hal Hinson of the WASHINGTON POST wrote, “UMBRELLAS is glorious romantic confection unlike any other in movie history.”
Kevin Thomas of the LA TIMES wrote, “UMBRELLAS has stood the test of time as beautifully as Deneuve herself, and seems likely to continue to enchant future generations as fully as it has audiences over the past four decades.
So mark your calendars for Friday, March 8, 2013, and join the Tacoma Film Club for their screening of Jacques Demy’s delightful THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964). It will screen at our home base at the Center for Spiritual Living, located at 206 North J Street, on the corner of J Street and Division, across from the Group Health hospital. Arrive early, around 6 p.m., and join some of us for fellowship downstairs. It is permitted to bring snacks & beverages, including wine, to share with others–but please remember that no food or drink can be brought upstairs to the sanctuary to watch the movie. Please clean up the kitchen area before going upstairs to view the movie. There is a donation box upstairs in the screening area, and this assists the Club in paying our rent for space, and other expenses ( like the license we must renew annually in order to screen movies at all). We do not accept donations during our monthly Discussion evenings, and do so only during our actual screenings. The movie will screen this Friday at about 7:15 p.m., and it runs about 91 minutes–so the film will be over before 9:30 p.m. Enjoy the movie!