The Umbrellas of Cherbourg: 50th Anniversary Edition review

Forget Rhianna, we'd much rather shelter from the rain with Catherine Deneuve

Free from overt sentiment and weighted down by a brooding sense of loss, Jacque Demy's masterpiece feels as much informed by the kitchen sink dramas Britain was producing in the '50s and '60s as it is by Hollywood's lavish musical extravaganzas. The difference here is that this tale of love and loss is told entirely through the medium of song.

Nino Castelnuovo and Catherine Deneuve star as Guy and Genèvieve, the film's two young lovers who are torn apart when he is drafted and must leave to fight in the Algerian War. With Guy only writing occasionally (a sure sign he has forgotten her, according to her mother) things only go from bad to worse when Genèvieve learns she is pregnant…

Picture: StudioCanal's Blu-ray uses a new 2K restoration of the film undertaken in 2013, with colour grading supervised by director Jacques Demy's son Mathieu (an accomplished filmmaker himself). Not only does the resulting AVC-encoded 1.85:1 1080p image look authentically film-like, with no traces of heavy-handed digital manipulation, but shadow delineation and colour saturation are both significantly improved over all previous releases.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: Drawing on the original 1963 mono mix, a 1992 Dolby SR optical negative and digital multitrack tapes from the same year, this Blu-ray gives viewers the choice of restored LPCM 2.0 and DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtracks. Naturally, the multichannel mix feels rather more enveloping in its deployment of the film's music, but at the end of the day there's very little to choose between them when it comes to the all-important clarity and tonality of the singing.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: As well as the film, the Blu-ray also contains an 87-minute documentary about Jacques Demy; a 52-minute documentary about The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; a six-minute look at the restoration process; a 66-minute audio interview with Catherine Deneuve; interviews with the BFI's Geoff Andrew and actress Virginnie Ledoyen about the film's impact and legacy; a stills gallery; and a pair of trailers (one from the original release in 1964, the other for the UK re-release in 2013).
Extras rating: 4.5/5

We say: A spectacular hi-def platter for a wonderful film. C'est magnifique!

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg: 50th Anniversary Edition review, StudioCanal, Region B BD, £23 Approx