This is one of those movies that are always around but you never get to see them. I had watched (and LOVED) the marvelous "Les demoiselles de Rocherfort" (trailer|imbd) also a musical starring Catherine Deneuve, written and directed by Jacques Demy and featuring (cool) original music by Michel Legrand. But I was kind of avoiding "Les parapluies..." because I knew the story was sad.
Press play if you want to read the post while listening to the main theme.
Last night my brother and I finally watched it. And it was utterly sorrowful...and truly unforgettable.
Basically the movie tells the story of a young couple, Geneviève (Deneuve) and Guy (Nino Castelnuovo). When he sadly has to leave because he was recruited by the army, she founds out she's pregnant. Geneviève and her mom are struggling with debts (why would you think that selling parapluies/umbrellas is a steady business?) so she must decide whether wait for Guy for years or marry a Rich Guy who loves her.
Even if you haven't seen it, you must probably have heard that in this movie every line is sung. I thought that at some points this fact would be really tiring, but it wasn't. It is really a successful experiment because the actors were able to show their emotions with even more intensity; because the rhythms change very smoothly according with each scene and because the musical arrangements are plain beautiful.
Also, visually is really agreeable to watch because —just like in "Les demoiselles..."— all the colors chosen are intense and the costumes designed by Jacqueline Moreau are incredibly pretty:
I think that every actor did a wonderful job. Denueve's performance at some points is just heartbreaking, Castelnuovo never overreacts (even when all the situations that his character has to go trough could have made him to) playing Guy as a very mature, uncomplaining person but with inner scars out of suffering. Also kudos for Anne Vernon who played Geneviève's mom in a very realistic way, with all the contradictions this implies.
So I really recommend this lovely/sad movie. You just have to get in the mood for it.
Image source of the two last images in the middle: