TIFF Cinematheque presents a Summer in France: ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’; Singin’ French in the Rain
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Directed by Jacques Demy
Written by Jacques Demy
There’s a bloke from Germany that can run the 100-metre dash in 13.6 seconds. He can also run the 200-metre in 31.56 seconds. There’s another lad who can run the 400-metre in 69.56 seconds. He’s also German.
The main concern regarding the two aforementioned tidbits is not the fact that they share common citizenship. No, the point of interest is their running time in the three events.
Although a tad underwhelming at first glance, and a bit unimpressive when compared to Olympic and world records, further context would render their achievements much more admirable.
For you see, they sprinted backwards.
One might ask the inevitable question of ‘why’. Running backwards is a contrived act of difficulty, is largely a gimmick with no substantial improvement to the form, and is generally overlooked as both. But despite all that, one has to admit that it’s still bloody impressive.
As long-winded as this opening metaphor is, it perfectly sums up Jacques Demy’s unrelentingly delectable musical, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Obligated to tell a somewhat conventional plot, the film chooses to tell it in an unconventional manner, singing every single word of dialogue and drowning the audience with its sugary-sweet charm.