Okay, so this post was actually completed literally minutes before my Web host wiped out my blog’s database about two months ago. Since I didn’t have a backup of that post, I’ll have to write this from scratch. I don’t think I can do as well as that post (it would have been legendary), but I’ll try.
Here lies another Fashion Inflicts Flicks (or vice versa) post, but this time, I am featuring just one glorious movie. I decided I was going to pick one movie every so often for my film series. The very first featured film will be none other than Jacques Demy’s gem from 1964, Les parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg).
This is Geneviève Emery, played by the beautiful Catherine Deneuve. The first time I think I actually saw her in a movie was in Dancer in the Dark, where she plays the friend of Selma, who was in turn played by my doppelganger (I still don’t see it) Björk. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg was the film that brought Deneuve and director Demy to the forefront of international attention. Deneuve’s character, Geneviève, and her mother, Madame Emery, run a petite and fashionable umbrella shop in the streets of Cherbourg, France. Before you think I’m going to give away any of the plot (not even the spoilers), I will not and would never do such a thing—that’s a complete nuisance and deserves some sort of theatrical noose of death. Why not just go see the movie if a post is just going to talk about the plot?
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is an excellent example of operatic cinema, but unlike musicals, characters don’t break out into songs and dances—the whole movie is a musical dialogue between characters. As the characters sing, they manage to keep conversational in manner and facial expressions (they don’t even dance accidentally, though I can tell some of them are tempted to at times). It’s sheer genius. Deneuve also later played in similar style “musicals,” one of which was another Demy movie. I thought it was a nice throwback to her musical days to have her play a minor role in Dancer in the Dark, a movie that heavily featured musical interludes, in her late 50s.
I love how she wears a bow in her hair in almost every outfit. I must’ve gone through a whole season wearing bows in my hair last year, way before I saw this movie. This blue outfit she is wearing above must’ve been my favorite—double bow! Hehe. This movie will make you want to own tiny umbrellas of various shades and colors to match every outfit, but of course, you realize that’s just a bit too much and too hard to keep up with. I already feel way too gloomy and lazy to do anything dynamic on a rainy day—let alone match matched outfits with umbrellas. That would be too much like dealing with a Rubiks cube. The colors are definitely an ironic match to the mood of this movie, much like the colorful umbrellas in rainy weather. This juxtaposition might’ve just been a by-product of mid-60s French art, but l think this might’ve all been done purposefully.
Like a lot of Euro movies, this one is delightfully open-ended, so the feeling I get from this movie might not be necessarily the same feeling someone else gets from this. I’ll stay away from the plot however, and I’ll just mention that there is one minor scene where Geneviève’s boyfriend Guy enters a bar with girls in pretty much burlesque-like outfits (a PG-13 scene). One attractive blonde lady dressed in similar fashion as the rest of the women walks up to him to flirt. Guy, surprisingly, turns her down rather rudely by telling her to go away and talks with this modestly dressed, yet very attractive brunette instead. Well, they end up going to bed together right away, but that’s not the point. He probably could’ve done the same thing at the same speed with the other lady who was trying a bit too hard to please with the way she dressed, but he didn’t. It’s either he’s done with what he thinks are “easy” girls, or that blondes remind him of Geneviève—or a combo of both. It wasn’t that he preferred brunettes over blondes either, because his girlfriend was very much a blonde. I thought it was just interesting how this whole scene fell together, which somewhat relates to the theme of this blog (not the part about brunettes vs. blondes).
Deneuve, at least in this movie, reminds me of Tippi Hedren’s clothes in most of her Hitchcock movies with the splashes of color, rigid lines, and of course, the modest outfits. Again, this might’ve just been very typical of day-to-day 60s outfits, which I find very agreeable.