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L'Atalante (1934)

aka L'Atalante

Directed By: 
Details: 89 mins · French


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From Everybody:

Don't get the whole "best of all time" thing but then again this is coming from someone who just gave Scary Movie three stars...

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Small Le père Jules
No_movie_poster Juliette
No_movie_poster Jean
No_movie_poster Le camelot
No_movie_poster Le gosse
No_movie_poster Le chef de bureau
No_movie_poster Raspoutine, le batelier (as Rafa Diligent)


No_movie_poster Jean Vigo Director
No_movie_poster Jean Guinée Scenario Writer
No_movie_poster Albert Riéra Adaptation
No_movie_poster Jean Vigo Writer
No_movie_poster Louis Chavance Editing


Jean (Jean Dasté), captain of the canal barge L'Atalante, marries Juliette (Dita Parlo) in her village. The opening sequence — the newlyweds' march from the church to Jean's boat — is filmed in a discontinuous style that anticipates the films of the French New Wave.

The couple travel to Paris to deliver cargo, enjoying a makeshift honeymoon en route. Jean's two crewmen, Père Jules (Michel Simon) and the cabin boy, are not used to the presence of a woman aboard. Jean flies into a jealous rage, smashing plates and sending Jules' cats scattering every which way, when he discovers Juliette and Jules talking in the latter's quarters.

Arriving in Paris, Jean promises Juliette a night out, but Jules goes to see a fortune teller, taking the cabin boy with him. Jean cannot leave the barge unattended, disappointing Juliette.

Later, however, Jean takes his wife to a dance hall. There they meet a street peddler who flirts with Juliette, dances with her, and asks her to run off with him. This leads to a scuffle with Jean, after which the boatman drags his wife back to the barge. When Juliette sneaks away to see the sights, a furious Jean casts off, leaving her behind.

Unaware of this, Juliette enjoys window shopping. When she finds the barge gone, she tries to buy a train ticket home, but her purse is stolen. She finds work and a place to sleep.

Meanwhile, Jean comes to regret his decision, slipping into depression. He is summoned by his company's manager, but Jules manages to keep him from losing his job. To the surprise of his crew, Jean first dunks his head in a bucket of water, then jumps into the river, recalling a folk tale Juliette had told him: that one can see the face of one's true love in the water. Jules sets out to find Juliette. He returns her to her husband, and the couple happily embrace.

Release Dates:

DVD : 2003-04-15