Absence in Jacques Demy’s Lola and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg | The "Recordatio" Cinema Club
Nov 2, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is undeniably one of my top 10 or 20 favorite films, but depending on the day of the week, it may or may not be my. On the Ending of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. By rhein-main-verzeichnis.infoino December 16, I have a deep, abiding aversion to filmic romance that I'm still trying to figure. End Facebook Pixel Code --> Throughout its 91 minute runtime, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Demy quickly establishes their relationship as an innocent one -- they.
The musical as breezy, high-spirited entertainment had yielded to ponderous road-show events such as My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music; their success would beget extravagant decade-closing flops like Star!
On a genre noted for its lightness, prestige worked like carbon monoxide. The more these movies lusted for acclaim and recognition, the more stale, square, and ludicrous musical conventions looked. But in Umbrellas, Demy found an ingenious way to extend the form of the screen musical, restoring its effervescence in part by reducing its scale to something recognizably human.
Rather than surge and lunge in elephantine production numbers, the entire movie would flow on an uninterrupted current of music. The singing and color would evoke the piercing immediacy of first love, even as the abstraction granted a very contemporary distancing effect. Is there a genre that demands a greater leap of imagination from a viewer, a more sophisticated acceptance of blatant artifice, than the movie musical?
Louis in essence enters into a compact with the filmmaker: I accept that characters will erupt into song and dance as naturally as conversation, and in return I will become their confidant, privy to their otherwise inexpressible longings. This is not the real world; this is a world with the veil of realism parted, allowing the passions beneath to peek through.
Among other things—many things—the film is about how our lives measure up against the romantic ideals we see on the big screen.
Even before the title appears, Demy establishes a universe that fuses the commonplace and the cinematically heightened. The iris that closed on the black-and-white world of his debut Lola opens on the sepia-toned harbor of coastal Cherbourg, its workaday fleets of trawlers and naval ships.
A light rain begins; pastel umbrellas seen from overhead engage in delicate spatial choreography with the credits. Deneuve is a vision of pristine loveliness.
She and Guy cavort down thoroughfares hot with neon yellows and sultry blues, as if the intensity of their passion has caused the town to bloom. Another thing that changes over the years, as we watch the movie, is our grudging awareness that she speaks the truth. Then comes word that Guy has been drafted for military service in the Algerian War. They part in the time-honored fashion of movie lovers, with a railway-station farewell, but one that carries a whiff less of irony than of the drab everyday concerns that lie ahead.
A dissolve transports her veiled face to the altar, making her transition from mannequin to trophy complete. Roland, on the other hand, desires meaning in his life. He desires purpose and ambition, and believes the revived romantic love he had for his childhood friend Lola will give him the meaning he is desperately searching for.
Poetically the characters seem to be playing out the same story in a never-ending cycle, and in this way, we get a clearer sense that their desires for happiness are elusive, ungraspable, and ultimately tragic in their eventual trajectory. The poetic images of Frankie and Cecile at the fair evoke an innocence and beauty that is moving. However, the nostalgia of their goodbye again leaves an experience of inevitable loss, like water slipping through the cracks of a cupped hand.
Even more illustrative of this loss is the mirroring of Cecile and Lola, such that we already can see the future of Cecile in her attempt to grasp at her desires. The innocent schoolgirl will one day be the cabaret dancer.'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg' Movie review
The unmarried mother will continue to yearn for presence. And yet, the film seems to promise that this presence is coming, and finally, at the climactic moment, Michel returns and we discover he has been haunting the film from its very beginning in the shape of the tall man in white, with cowboy hat and Cadillac.
Michel appears as an embodied promise of all earthly desires, almost like a vision of something divine. Yet at the penultimate moment, undercutting the joy of this fulfilled desire having been reunited with husband and child, driving away in the Cadillac with the promise of prosperity, Lola wistfully looks back to see Roland walking away, alone and dissatisfied. Is this really fulfilment?
On the Ending of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Is this really a happy ending? Or is there the faint gloom of impending disappointment and unfulfilled promise hovering over and emphasising the bitterness in a bittersweet end? Michel, the man in white, appears like a god but ultimately is not God, only a human person as flawed as any other. If Lola is hoping for all her dreams to be fulfilled by him, then disappointment is inevitable, and the film ends on the perfect note.
Perhaps the ending and hopeless lack of fulfilment highlights a higher unnamed absence universally yearned for. Perhaps this image of Michel, though he is nothing more than human, is supposed to lift our minds to an absence that is ultimately the tragedy of the film, the absence of God. Where is the divine presence?
Review: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg | The House Next Door | Slant Magazine
Or in appearing absent, is the divine ever more intimately intertwined with all? Is the endless criss-crossing between characters a work of grace and a sign of the real presence each seeks? In The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Guy and Genevieve love each other, with all the emotion and passion of young love.
Their love is driven by desire for each other, a desire to be together no matter what happens. This desire is thwarted, however, when Guy is drafted to fight in the Algerian war. What follows is a period of absence which tests the endurance of this love and eventually paves the way for its demise. I feel like Guy left years ago. I look at this photo, and I forget what he really looks like. She is seduced by pragmatism, rather than patiently choosing to wait. She is confronted by a concrete prospect, rather than the fading memories of a love she cannot see clearly anymore.
The fantastical framework of a Musical is inverted by the real and ultimately crushing truth that life must go on, and love with it, but perhaps not as one expects.