Opera & Film: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

France | 1964 | 93 min. | Jacques Demy

March 26, 2024

Opera & Film

The angelically beautiful Catherine Deneuve plays an umbrella-shop owner’s delicate daughter, glowing with first love for a handsome garage mechanic, played by Nino Castelnuovo. When the boy is shipped off to fight in Algeria, the two lovers must grow up quickly. Exquisitely designed in a kaleidoscope of colors, and told entirely through lilting songs by the great composer Michel Legrand, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of the most revered and unorthodox movie musicals of all time.

Presented in partnership with Seattle Opera. Screening will be preceded by a short contextual lecture and followed by an audience discussion and Q&A. A quick preview from the facilitator:

This 1964 intoxicating French romance is a perfect balance of delirious pleasure and bittersweet heartache. Director Jacques Demy and composer Michel Legrand architected this completely through-composed and sung French New Wave classic with the great Catherine Deneuve (in her star-making role) and almost as much pastel paint as 2023’s Barbie.

SIFF year-round passes and vouchers are not valid for this screening.

This simple romantic tragedy begins in 1957. Guy Foucher, a 20-year-old French auto mechanic, has fallen in love with 17-year-old Geneviève Emery, an employee in her widowed mother’s chic but financially embattled umbrella shop. On the evening before Guy is to leave for a two-year tour of combat in Algeria, he and Geneviève make love. She becomes pregnant and must choose between waiting for Guy’s return or accepting an offer of marriage from a wealthy diamond merchant.

  • Original Language Title: Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
  • Director: Jacques Demy
  • Principal Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Anne Vernon, Nino Castelnuovo, Marc Michel
  • Country: France, Germany
  • Year: 1964
  • Running Time: 93 min.
  • Producer: Mag Bodard
  • Screenplay: Jacques Demy
  • Cinematographers: Jean Rabier
  • Editors: Anne-Marie Cotret, Monique Teisseire
  • Music: Michel Legrand
  • Language: French
  • US Distributor: Zeitgeist Films