The universal feeling of loss and separation is the emotion that compels filmmakers Helena Hilario and Mario Pece to tell a relatable story of a child, named Joseph who is separated from his parents and is sent to live in a group home in Umbrellas.
Joseph and his family are refugees and their situation is complicated so for a time the family must endure a separation. The longing a child feels to be reunited with the family they know and love can be traumatic, as well as, anxiety producing. It's often the case that children will hold on to fond memories because it is comforting. Joseph takes advantage of his comforting thoughts.
Umbrellas is created with beautiful animation, no dialogue, and delightful music to accompany the story of Joseph who one day meets a little girl and her mother when they come to visit Miss Elem's Children's Home bearing gifts. One of the gifts is a yellow umbrella.
Joseph notices the yellow umbrella and wants to have it because the yellow umbrella reminds him of the yellow scarf that his father gave him before they separated. His father wanted the scarf to keep him company while he was away. When no one is looking, Joseph sneaks the umbrella away from the other gifts, tucks it under his arm and then runs to hide. The little girl observes Joseph and interprets his actions as bad form to take something without asking. The little girl wants to tell him so and seeks to find him.
Joseph is hiding in a big wardrobe hoping to be left alone but the little girl discovers his hiding spot. Joseph attempts to come out of the wardrobe but in doing so, the furniture falls over. The little girl is not concerned about the umbrella any longer. She is worried Joseph is hurt.
When the little girl hears Joseph's story and his desire to hold onto the yellow umbrella she wants him to have it. Days pass and one day Joseph imagines that he see his dad with the yellow umbrella and runs after him but realizes it is only a dream. Joseph never forgot the little girl's act of kindness, so much that in his adult life he became the proud owner of a store that sold only umbrellas.