Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dvd/150: L'ATALANTE (1934) and the shorter films of Jean Vigo

Jean Vigo directed only four films which can be watched in an afternoon.  He died, aged 29, of Septicaemia in 1934.  But directors have long cited him as an influence, two European film awards bear his name while L'ATALANTE is #12 in Sight and Sound's 50 Greatest Films of All Time.

The surrealistic A PROPOS DE NICE (1930) contrasts the Nice rich and poor; a 1931 short showcases French swimmer Jean Taris while the anarchic ZERO DE CONDUITE (1933) has four young pupils rioting at their oppressive boarding-school.

Then there's the poetic realism of L'ATALANTE.  Jean marries Juliette and they start married life on his barge with eccentric Pére Jules and a cabin lad.

When Juliette sneaks off to see Paris, Jean angrily sails away.  Can resourceful Pére Jules reunite the sad lovers?

Commited performances from Jean Dasté, Dita Parlo, Michel Simon and Gilles Margaritis illuminate Vigo's haunting masterpiece.

Shelf or charity shop?  Sur l'etagére naturellement.

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