Dir. Jean Vigo, 1934, 89 min
With Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, Gilles Margaritis
In French and Russian with English subtitles
In Jean Vigo’s hands, an unassuming tale of conjugal love becomes an achingly romantic reverie of desire and hope. Jean (Jean Dasté), a barge captain, marries Juliette (Dita Parlo), an innocent country girl, and the two climb aboard Jean’s boat, the L’Atalante—already populated by an earthy first mate (Michel Simon) and a multitude of mangy cats—and embark on their new life together. Both a surprisingly erotic idyll and a clear-eyed meditation on love, L’Atalante, Vigo’s only feature-length work, is a film like no other.
Richard Peña: “Among other things, Paris is a city of waterways, and no film captured the beauty of this under-acknowledged feature more powerfully than Jean Vigo’s final masterpiece, in which a young wife is tempted—almost fatally—by the perceived pleasures of the big city.”
“It’s no exaggeration to call “L’Atalante” one of the greatest films in the history of cinema.” – The New Yorker
“One of the supreme masterpieces of French cinema” – The Chicago Reader
“Vigo’s magical tale of two newly-weds… fascinating and beautiful” – Sight & Sound