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Director Marie Genin
Writers Marie Genin and Serge July
Image Eric Genillier
Sound Thierry Blandin, Alexandre Hernandez
Editing Marie Da Costa
Length 52 minutes
Format 16/9
Versions French and English
Broadcasters France 5, TCM, TSR


  • Catherine DENEUVE, actress
  • Michel LEGRAND, composer
  • Agnès VARDA, filmmaker, wife of Jacques Demy
  • Rosalie VARDA, daughter of Agnès Varda, costume designer
  • Mag BODARD, producer
  • Marc MICHEL, actor
  • Christiane LEGRAND, singer, sister of Michel Legrand
  • Bernard TOUBLANC-MICHEL, assistant on ” Lola “, childhood friend
  • Anne-Marie COTTRET, editor
  • Jacqueline MOREAU, costume designer
  • Gérard VAUGEOIS, producer, critic and friend
  • Christophe HONORÉ, filmmaker
  • Benjamin STORA, historian

Portrait of a film. Geneviève and Guy fall in love in Cherbourg in 1957. Guy is called to service in Algeria, leaving Geneviève behind, broken-hearted and pregnant. Unfortunately, the war and social pressures are stronger than their love. Geneviève gives in to her mother’s demands and marries a rich diamond dealer. On his return from Algeria, Guy finds out that Geneviève has left and sets up a service station. Five years later, they meet again by chance: neither of them has anything more to say to the other. Enchanting yet dramatic, the film, which is both a musical and a comedy, with partly sung and partly spoken lines, refers to the nameless war in Algeria through Michel Legrand’s jazzy music and a Cherbourg revisited in the pop colours of the sixties. Palme d’Or 1964 in Cannes, the film was a huge success, both in France and abroad. Catherine Deneuve became a star, the French public hummed along to Michel Legrand and Hollywood opened its doors to Jacques Demy.

Portrait of an era. While astronautics pioneers Youri Gagarin and John Glenn fly in space, the world’s youth dances to the rhythm of rock’n roll, pop and French yé-yé. In 1961, the musical “West side story”, a remake of Romeo and Juliet set against a backdrop of rival New York bands, won almost all the Oscars and was a worldwide success. These were the “hot” years of the Beatles, the singles and “Salut les copains”, the daily show that caused a sensation on hte radio channel Europe n°1. For the first time, Western youth appeared as a major social player. One of its slogans: “Make love, not war! “, born in 1963 in the USA against the Vietnam War, fits perfectly with the film. Opposed to the Algerian war, Jacques Demy begins the script while the war is still going on but begins filming after the Evian agreements. The film perfectly reflects the atmosphere of those years.

Portrait of a filmmaker. In 1964, Jacques Demy is a 33 year-old filmmaker, and the husband of Agnès Varda whom he married two years earlier. “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” is his second feature film after “Lola”, through which he met Michel Legrand, the man who helped him realize his dream of directing a musical. Legrand already enjoys an exceptional career as a jazzman in New York, performing with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans and Stan Getz, and as a composer of numerous film scores. The success of the “The umbrellas of Cherbourg” led to Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand’s next film, “Les demoiselles de Rochefort”, a fully musical comedy released in 1967 and starring Catherine Deneuve, her sister Françoise Dorléac, Gene Kelly and Georges Chakiris, the star dancer of “West side story“. The director of “Donkey skin” (1970) and “A room in Town” (1982) died of AIDS in 1990.