Blog Directory CineVerse: Rain song

Rain song

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The French are renowned for their wines, pastries, sauces, painters, and architecture. They can also craft a colorful and memorable movie musical, as evidenced by Jacques Demy’s bittersweet cinematic confection The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which our CineVerse band watched and conversed about last week. Our conclusions are summed up below (to listen to a recording of our group discussion, click here).

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg has been called a great musical experiment. Howe is it innovative, different, or unique from Hollywood musicals you’ve seen?

  • There is no normal spoken dialogue—all the dialogue is sung, even the mundane bits of talking.
  • The film is quite melancholy and poignant, especially the ending, which is not a tacked-on happy Hollywood-type ending.
  • There are no show-stoppers or big production numbers—the picture has no dancing, chorus, or duets.
  • The acting style, body movements, characters, and situations are naturalistic in contrast to the sometimes exaggerated esthetics and colors around them.

What is interesting about the visuals, music, and temporal rhythm of the film?

  • It’s a tribute to as well as a rejection of the cloying, unrealistic tendencies of American musicals.
  • It imitates the artificiality and heavily exaggerated stylization of studio-bound musicals in its bold, bright colors, yet the dialogue and situations are commonplace, ordinary, and credible.
  • The colors are meant to either complement or clash with the mundane conversations, characters, and situations.

Other films by Jacques Demy

  • The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
  • Lola
  • Une Chambre en Ville

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