By Angela Eckstein
The culture of France comes to students Thursday night as the library shows “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” as part of the French Film Series.
“Les Parapluies de Cherbourg,” translated to English as “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” is a film about a young woman who pursues a relationship with Guy, a mechanic who leaves her pregnant when he goes to war.
Genevieve must decide if she will wait for Guy to return or marry an affluent suitor, Roland Cassard.
“It is a bittersweet tale of love,” said professor Daryl Lee, who will introduce the film. “It”s a love story for most people, but to me it says a lot about the new world that was emerging in post-war France.”
The film is set in the late ”50s and ”60s when the French colonies were struggling for independence in Africa.
“”The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” is a heartfelt, passionate and tragic musical suite,” said Jonathan Rosenbaum, a film critique for the Chicago Reader.
“It”s all musical and every word is sung,” said Richard Hacken, the French Films Series coordinator.
Rosenbaum said the song-like quality of the French language amplifies the beauty and power of the film”s score.
Famous jazz musician and composer Michel Legrand wrote the score and lyrics for the movie.
“It is the first film musical that was entirely sung – no one had ever done that before,” Legrand told the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 1998 when he won the Henry Mancini Award.
“The musical track has been celebrated over the years,” Lee said. “It”s got this down home feel to it where the sentiments of this young woman and young man come through in a unique way: the singing is a metaphor of their feelings.”
Another celebrated aspect of the film is the use of color.
“Its use of color is actually pretty wild,” Lee said. “The colors are really striking with the greens, reds and pinks.”
In addition to its color, Hacken said the film was selected because it is different than what has been shown before.
“It”s a nice way to get some French culture,” Hacken said. “We”ve advertised it as a film for all the young lovers of the world.”
The French Film Series has a three-fold purpose: to give people a chance to learn about French language and culture, to function as an outreach from the Library to campus, and to get some of the classic master films out from their shelves in the Library”s Learning Resource Center and onto the silver screen, Hacken said.