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L’Atalante

France 1934. Dir: Jean Vigo. 89 min. DCP

“One of the most beautiful and haunting movies ever made ... It defines what is meant by the poetry of cinema.”
PHILIP FRENCH

Jean Vigo’s only feature is one of cinema’s most intoxicating and suggestive masterpieces — a simple tale of love and loss imbued with astonishing poetry. When hopeful young bride Juliette (Dita Parlo) joins new husband Jean (Jean Dasté) aboard his river-faring barge, the exciting adventures she’s dreamed of prove elusive, and she must contend with a crusty first mate, a dimwitted cabin boy, and a herd of mangy cats. Vigo’s wonderful film evocatively blends realism and surrealism and has an infectious anarchic spirit. Celebrated character actor Michel Simon shines as Père Jules, the mate, whose cluttered quarters are a surrealist treasure trove. L’Atalante was mutilated by its distributors and a commercial shipwreck upon release; it would be years before the film received its due or could be viewed in a version matching Vigo’s original vision. “If you have never seen L'Atalante, one can only envy the experience you are about to have" (TIFF).


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REVIEWS

“Riveting ... An inexhaustible source of cinematic magic.”

Wall Street Journal | full review

“One of the supreme achievements in the history of cinema.”

Chicago Reader | full review