Wednesday, July 14, 2010

French Films

I'd heard a few informal recommendations for a film. It's a French film and I'm a sucker for French films. I don't know who said it but it's a great quote "Hollywood makes movies, but only the French make films." I like to flatter myself I can speak a bit of French and it's fun to watch great films and also to congratulate myself occasionally when I can match the subtitles to the dialogue.

What these informal recommendations failed to point out to me was the one major thing in a film that would be likely to stop me watching it. The entire film is sung. Every. Single. Word.

So I settled down to watch it last night and pretty quickly realised I was in musical territory. But the singing didn't stop although it's not a musical in the normal sense of the word. But they just kept on singing. Every. Single. Word. I stuck with it.

And you know what? I loved it. I've never watched such a vibrantly coloured film. Every single shot seems to be immaculately constructed to stimulate the eye. Even the mundane is made to look gorgeous. It's minimal yet so rich. The dialogue is sparse but leaves you wanting so much more and imagining so much more. The plot is simple and perhaps even implausible but that doesn't matter.

Everyone is beautiful, particularly the women who are all exquisite beyond description. Catherine Deneuve is always beautiful but I'd never even heard of Ellen Farner and she seems to have disappeared without trace. How can somebody not have a Wikipedia page?

And it's got a stunning Michel Legrand (Windmills of Your Mind) soundtrack that just works on every level with the film.

The film? It's called The Umbrellas of Cherbourg / Les Parapluies de Cherbourg. The clip below is the closing scene. How can a simple petrol station be beautiful? I'll just say the two people in the second half of the clip (2 mins. to end) are, even by saying very little of any substance, perhaps regretting a greater relationship that circumstances dictated they were never to have. Watch it full screen. It's a feast for the eyes.

10 comments:

nursemyra said...

Oh....... x

King of Scurf said...

nursemyra: Care to elaborate?

nursemyra said...

Yes. I'd never seen it before and thought it was so gorgeous it deserved a kiss.

And! I have now purchased a copy for my best friend's birthday. Will be giving it to her tomorrow on the proviso that we watch it together.

(btw, I usually HATE musicals)

King of Scurf said...

nursemyra: Watch your local cinema listings for a French film that's just come out here called L'Arnacouer (Heartbreaker). Just saw it on Friday - very good.

Let me know what you think of The Umbrellas.

Arts Web Show said...

I cant believe i actually watched.
It's not my usual style but its really cool

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King of Scurf said...

Atrs Web Show: Tres, tres chic n'est ce pas.

nursemyra said...

My friend and I finally got to watch it together.... so fabulous. The colours and the set design were out of this world. Loved the different wallpapers too. Thanks for showing me the clip, it might have taken me years to stumble across it otherwise

King of Scurf said...

Glad you enjoyed it nursemyra. Let us congratulate ourselves on our good taste.

STACY PEREZ said...

I also like to watch French movies to improve my grip on the language but I doubt if I could keep up with a musical since they would be saying the words much faster.
greatest films ever