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Tales of Love: The Enchanted World of Jacques Demy

Saturday, July 27, 2013
8:30 p.m. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Jacques Demy (France, 1964)

Digital Restoration!
Repeated on Saturday, August 31

(Les parapluies de Cherbourg). Watching Jacques Demy’s most famous work is like viewing some secret history of cinema, where all words are sung and all sights are candy-coated, where the French New Wave and the MGM musical dwell hand in hand in a sixties-chic Eastmancolor paradise of Pop Art and popsicle colors. The plot? A boy and girl love, lose, love again, and lose again against an assortment of fabulous wallpaper. In the role that made her a star, the then twenty-year-old Catherine Deneuve seems more hologram of beauty than earthly being, floating through a lilac-and-strawberry-painted world where love is all around, characters’ clothes match their apartment walls, and gas station attendants serenade customers with a Michel Legrand–penned song (“Fill it up, Ma . . . dame? Suuu-per? Or Stan-dard?”). For those who love the sixties, French culture, Deneuve, Demy, design, romance, musicals, or cinema itself, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg stands alone, unmatched.

—Jason Sanders

• Written by Demy. Photographed by Jean Rabier. With Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon, Marc Michel. (92 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, DCP, From Janus Films/Criterion Collection)