17-year-old shopkeepers daughter Geneviève Emery (Catherine Deneuve) and 20-year-old mechanic Guy Foucher (Nino Castelnuovo) are in love, but Geneviève’s mother (Anne Vernon) – who runs an umbrella shop in Cherbourg – won’t allow them to marry as Guy has yet to complete his compulsory military service.
Geneviève is heartbroken when Guy leaves for his army service in colonial Algeria and is upset to have received only one letter from him in two months – especially as she has discovered she is pregnant with his baby.
Her mother’s solution to the situation is to marry Geneviève off (unhappily) to the kindly and wealthy diamond merchant Roland Cassard (Marc Michel).
It’s an unusual screen musical as all the dialogue in the film – originally titled Les Parapluies de Cherbourg – is sung without a single line spoken. All the actors were dubbed by professional singers.
It rains constantly throughout the film, but vivid breathtaking bubblegum colours are abundant, and everything looks beautiful and supremely romantic.
Director Jacques Demy (who also wrote the script) and composer Michel Legrand spent a year preparing the film and three months shooting. The film won the Golden Palm at the 1964 Cannes International Film Festival.
The film later served as the inspiration for Damien Chazelle’s La La Land (2016).
Danielle Licari (singing voice)
José Bartel (singing voice)
Christiane Legrand (singing voice)
Georges Blaness (singing voice)
Claudine Meunier (singing voice)
Claire Leclerc (singing voice)
Michel Legrand (singing voice)