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L'Atalante Review

Image for L'Atalante

After moving onto a ship with her new husband Jea, Juliette soon tired of life at sea and slips off into the Paris nightlife. Furious Jules sets off, leaving her behind, but beomes overcome by the longing for his wife, while shipmate Pere goes searching for her

★★★★

The only feature directed by the tragically short-lived Jean Vigo, this is a haunting romantic fable about a young couple — Jean Dasté, Dita Parlo — who spend their life on a battered barge on the Seine. Not much happens, except wise old salt Michel Simon helping out, but it has a genuinely weird feel, combining dingy realism with an almost magical eroticism. It has improved with age, its occasional fuzziness adding a further patina to its strange texture. Vigo, who had made the shorts A Propos De Nice and Zero De Conduite, died at 29 just when the film was coming out.

A stunning debut, which sadly also brought down the curtain on Jean Vigo's promising career.