Denise Lanctot
June 20, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
performer
Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo
director
Jacques Demy
genre
Foreign Language

We gave it an A+

Just when you thought romance was dead and an animated mouse had the monopoly on movie musicals, Jacques Demy’s Cannes Grand Prize winner, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg — the ultimate fairy tale musical — has been brilliantly remastered and restored. For the eye, Demy, filming in color for the first time, had exteriors and interiors painted to match the costumes. For the ear, flouting American musical convention, Michel Legrand’s dulcet score is through-composed; the dialogue is all sung; and when the boy loses the girl and sings a song, he doesn’t win her back. But with the delectable Deneuve in her first big role as a 16-year-old who works in Mama’s umbrella shop and falls disastrously in love with a garage mechanic, Cherbourg stands as a bittersweet masterpiece. A+

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