Céline et Julie vont en bateau (Jacques Rivette, 1974)

Celine and Julie Go Boating

FR, 193 min

so. so. good. magic.


Like all of Rivette’s characters, Céline and Julie are cinema’s great sleepwalkers—walking through our world, in a world of their own, seeing (quite literally) how the two rhyme and scheme together, how they might scheme back. Is there a plot? It’s the question often facing Rivette characters; the next question is whether they are its audience, subject, or author. In Céline and Julie they are, progressively, all three. When they look in the looking glass , the nod isn’t just to the helpless spectators of Lewis Carroll and Jean Cocteau (like Orpheus, they’ll even find themselves in a car taking them from one world to another)—but to Duck Soup, and to Groucho Marx, ever occupying a different plane of reality than Mrs. Dumont. Surreality: the level right above reality: the level of God and Groucho. With reality entirely at their disposal. – David Phelps