Pre-Meeting #5 (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg)

Hello All!

For future reference, I’m trying to get better ay making sure this blog is consistently updated by the Monday before a meeting (Next meeting 3/4!). Shouldn’t be too much trouble — but ya boy gets tired sometimes.

Last week we had a great discussion about Daughters of The Dust, and its dreamlike depiction of an oft-ignored American subculture. We also listed some other materials we’d recommend to people who enjoyed that movie — linked at the very bottom of this post. Weeks later, I’m still thinking about this film’s depiction of humanity co-existing with nature, that one shot of Trula amongst the gnarled roots of an overturned tree, and the film’s ability to convey thematic weight with a relatively loose narrative. — If you’ve still got this film on your mind, drop any lingering thoughts in the comments!

After watching so many slow-paced, weighty works of cinema in a row I figured we could all use a boost of something a little more jovial. As such, we’ll be taking a look at the Palme d’Or-winning The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a colorful French musical about love, life, and presumably Umbrellas. An atypical New Wave picture in the sense that it doesn’t, at first glace, seem to share much in common with the black-and-white experimentalism of Breathless or future CUCK-watch The 400 Blows. Instead, “It is the most lick-able color, it looks like it tastes good,” per amatuer film scholar Patton Oswalt.

I’ve never been much of an Opera guy so I’m not used to experiencing narratives sung in one of those fancy European languages they got over there — but I should note that this marks our first foray into that hallowed ground of S U B T I T L E S. As Bong Joon-Ho said just last year, “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” We’ve got a bunch more subtitled classics awaiting us in the future, so this should serve as a nice on-ramp to determining how we watch/discuss foreign films as a part of C.U.C.K.

That’s all I’ve got for now — If you enjoy the film and want to do a little more reading on the matter, check out the following essays on Umbrellas:

“Sing Your Life” by Brianna Ashby for Bright Wall / Dark Room
“A Finite Forever” by Jim Ridley for Criterion
“Oil Culture In The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg” by Siobahn Nelson for the Carolina Planning Journal

Daughters of the Dust Links & Reccomendations:

James Van Der Zee, an early 20th-century African-American photographer who bears some similarity to Mr. Snead

Just Another Girl On The I.R.T. (1992, dir. Leslie Harris)

Pioneers of African-American Cinema

Love & Basketball (2000, dir Gina Prince-Bythewood)

Eve’s Bayou (1997, dir. Kasi Lemmons)

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Stay With Me: A Novel by Ayobami Adebayo

Losing Ground (1982, dir. Kathleen Collins)

Anything by Zora Neale Hurston

The Watermelon Woman (1996, dir. Cheryl Dunye)

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