1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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soundchaser
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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#51 Post by soundchaser » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:08 pm

Conversely, I *hate* Va Savoir, and had I started with that one I probably wouldn't have kept going! It's his only late period work I really don't like.

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domino harvey
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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#52 Post by domino harvey » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:10 pm

I started with Va savoir because at the time it was the only Rivette available commercially on DVD in the states. I thought it was too long and not very interesting. Still a pretty good descriptor of a lot of Rivette. So dear lord, start with this, his best film

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#53 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:42 pm

Hah, I've always wanted to see Rivette's LONGER version of Va savoir (which never got released in the US or on any sort of home media). ;-) (We also went to see the Pirandello play that is seen in the film).

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#54 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:48 pm

This was my first Rivette - many moons ago from the library on the New Yorker VHS! - and while it was quite the experience Labourier and Berto's performances and chemistry went a long way to make it enjoyable. Truly one of my favorite friend relationships in film. As was my experience with Noiseuse at some point you just go along with the performances and enjoy the ride. Celine et Julie being split between two cassettes helped too. But the last minutes are amongst my favorite in all cinema so I'd hope that rewards the experience for anyone.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#55 Post by Ashirg » Mon Mar 08, 2021 2:27 pm


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hearthesilence
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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#56 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:11 pm

Ashirg wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 2:27 pm
Beaver and Julie Go Boating
Compared to the BFI disc, it looks like they turned up the contrast a notch on the same restoration for the Criterion disc, but not much else. The real draw is the boatload of extras, and that alone makes the Criterion set worth getting even if you have the BFI disc.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#57 Post by ianthemovie » Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:53 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:11 pm
Compared to the BFI disc, it looks like they turned up the contrast a notch on the same restoration for the Criterion disc, but not much else. The real draw is the boatload of extras, and that alone makes the Criterion set worth getting even if you have the BFI disc.
Agreed, the inclusion of the Claire Denis doc (something I've long wanted to see) alone should give this a slight edge over the BFI.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#58 Post by JSC » Mon Mar 08, 2021 7:17 pm

Hah, I've always wanted to see Rivette's LONGER version of Va savoir (which never got released in the US or on any sort of home media). ;-) (We also went to see the Pirandello play that is seen in the film).
Actually, Va savoir has grown on me. Saw it when it first came out and it didn't leave much of an impression. But I saw it again
recently and appreciated it more in the context of Rivette's other films. In a strange sort of way, it's roughly the equivalent of watching
a farce in slow motion.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#59 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 08, 2021 8:24 pm

I never would have become a Rivette fan (I suspect) had I not managed to see Va savoir screened. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#60 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:53 pm

Quick question - the Denis documentary only exists in an SD broadcast master, correct? There's no film print, much less a film negative that exists, right?

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#61 Post by Gregor Samsa » Sat Mar 20, 2021 1:41 pm


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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#62 Post by Noiretirc » Sat Mar 20, 2021 4:29 pm

(I know this is not the right place for this, but my searching skills are obviously quite terrible: Has the full version of L'Amour Fou found a way to disc?)

Edit: I eventually found my answer (no!) in the Rivette thread.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#63 Post by Svevan » Sat Mar 20, 2021 5:52 pm

I finally got to watch this for the first time on Criterion’s new Blu-ray. I enjoyed it a lot! This is my second Rivette after Le Pont du Nord, which I saw on MoC’s Blu, and is a film I deeply love. (I have Criterion’s Paris Belongs to Us but I have yet to commit to watching it all the way through).

There were some interesting mysteries early on in Celine and Julie, (in particular the nature of the relationship between the two women) plus some comparisons with Le Pont du Nord (another mysterious relationship) that helped grab me early on. But although the 70s color film stock kept me engaged, especially Julie’s red hair popping against green backgrounds, the middle hour or so was a bit confounding for me. I was excited by the maybe-telepathic connection between the two women, and the way their personalities were shifting and interchanging, but the constant detours into the melodrama pulled me out of that reverie. The fragmentary nature of the first hour left it unclear how either character got into the house and why that was important (I guess it wasn’t), so returning to it so often, I felt like I had missed some key motivation.

By the time I got to the end I felt like I understood why the film elided a more deliberate sequential setup. The house is both an accidental excursion and a monument to the cinema and theatre of the patriarchy. It’s a doll house and A Doll’s House at the same time, both an open play space needing no justification, and a world of structure and ideology in need of deconstruction. And while I was a bit bored by the repetitions of this stage play, those repetitions seem key to Rivette’s strategy here, so that when the two characters eventually invade the performance, the audience has a firm idea of where everyone is supposed to be and what they’re supposed to say. Thus their anarchic disruptions have more context and more weight, and are also simply more delightful. This last half hour of the film completely won me back to the movie, both resolving and adding mysteries, and giving some purpose to the build-up.

I think Le Pont du Nord was a bit more successful at sustaining my curiosity throughout, and is a movie I can show to others as a unique and exhilarating urban fantasy-mystery. Celine and Julie requires a bit more commitment. But Celine and Julie feels like it has more to say, more mystery to explore, and has a more intoxicating central friendship. I felt a thrill watching the last five minutes unfold.

Next I’ll explore Paris Belongs to Us and Coup de Berger and see if I can justify the money and time needed for Out 1.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#64 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:38 pm

svevan -- You put your finger on why I think Pont du Nord is a "gentler" introduction to Rivette tha Celine and Julie (as wondeful as that film is).

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#65 Post by Noiretirc » Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:55 pm

Wow.

I expected a "playful romp", with much fun and laughter throughout. This is generally how C+JGB is described.

There was some of that, but the overall impression I got from this damn thing was that it was dark and disturbing. It was Persona/Vertigo/Mullholland Drive/Out 1 all mixed together.

This is a monumental film. I too am surprised that some see this as the suggested entry to Rivette. No way! Warm up with PdN or PBTU first.

I need to research what Lynch has said about Rivette.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#66 Post by soundchaser » Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:09 pm

I don’t know that Lynch has ever commented on Rivette’s work! As least, not that I’ve been able to find. Rivette was notably a fan of Fire Walk With Me, though.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#67 Post by Noiretirc » Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:47 pm

soundchaser wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:09 pm
I don’t know that Lynch has ever commented on Rivette’s work! As least, not that I’ve been able to find.
Indeed, I found nothing, other than a Lynch/Rivette film festival. I didn't check the particular pairings yet, but that might be good info for the Rivette thread. Lynch has often spoken of his favourite films and directors, and Rivette is nowhere to be seen. That really surprises me.

Edit: Ha! C+JGB was paired with Mulholland Drive.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#68 Post by domino harvey » Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:24 pm

Until very, very recently, it was impossible to see English-subbed commercial copies of Rivette's films on the home media market and Rivette's market share of discussion is highly inflated among online cinephiles vs the general art house public, especially of late. I wouldn't assume Lynch has even seen them, or if he has, seen them early enough in his career for them to be influential

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#69 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:26 pm

Noiretirc wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:47 pm
Edit: Ha! C+JGB was paired with Mulholland Drive.
Adrian Martin makes reference to Mulholland Drive multiple times in his commentary and I imagine many others have as well, so regardless of Lynch's actual inspirations it's a sensible double-bill.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#70 Post by barbarella satyricon » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:40 am

I saw Celine and Julie first, then caught up with a retrospective screening of Mulholland Drive some years later. I never made the connection between the two, though, maybe because the Rivette ends with such a lift – quite possibly the happiest of happy endings I’ve ever enjoyed with an audience in a cinema (including that time with The Return of the King where people were standing in the aisles and happy-weeping during the final reel) – and the Lynch plays out like such a tragedy that I remember being just dazed walking out of the theater and for days after. From all I’d heard and read, I was expecting a sexy, tricky little puzzle-box movie, and was instead blindsided by waves of psychic darkness, unshakable sadness.

Inland Empire, when I first watched it not too long ago, is the one that actually brought Celine and Julie almost immediately to mind as the final credits / Nina Simone dance routine were rolling out. While the one-woman Laura Dern show is not the female duo / buddy film that the other two are, I think the themes and tropes in this one have a lot more consonance with the Rivette, what with the final breaking out of closed-circuit narrative prisons, Victorian lit in the one and cable access TV in the other. I’m pretty sure these similarities have been mentioned somewhere on these boards or others. I think the two would make a great midnight double-bill. Staggering out into the daylight after close to seven hours of Rivette and Lynch would very well be, I imagine, an experience of life imitating art.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#71 Post by Noiretirc » Mon Apr 12, 2021 5:50 pm

It's fascinating to me that you find that "the Rivette ends with such a lift – quite possibly the happiest of happy endings I’ve ever enjoyed with an audience in a cinema (including that time with The Return of the King where people were standing in the aisles and happy-weeping during the final reel)". Something unsettling and ominous was brewing in the ending for me, even though I was cautiously laughing along with C+J. And when they finally go boating, I viewed what they saw there as terrifying. Perhaps I completely misunderstand this ending. Are they forever haunted? Is the child safe?

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#72 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:01 pm

Now that I think of it, the girl was a person from the long ago past, trapped in a terrible situation which repeated endlessly. By freeing her, they probably did not bring her back to life (as a 19th century girl in 20th century France), but allowed her to pass on to whatever afterlife (next life, whatever) she was supposed to move on to. (Having seen After Life, Haibane Renmei and Wonder Egg Priority since my first viewing C&JGB has, perhaps, changed my perspective)

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#73 Post by furbicide » Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:25 pm

I like that interpretation a lot, Michael. Another possibility is that it's simply a moment that reinforces the artifice of the story, like the end of a dream just before waking where lucidity breaks in and the absurdity of the plot that has just played out in your head becomes clear – a moment represented here by three stationary waxy figures on a boat, always there but clearly never there to begin with. The moment of perturbed silence from the characters is a recognition both that the girl has not really been saved (how many dreams present us with achievements that slip through our fingers upon waking?) but that also she belongs to that artificial world and will soon be lost to it.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#74 Post by Shrew » Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:38 pm

I've always taken the ghost house to be a stand-in for a novel, or more generally a "narrative" intruding into the hitherto free-form film. That doesn't mean narrative is bad--it's what we crave and so the girls keep returning to the house. But narrative is also limiting, so the girls intervene. I see the trio in the house as characters more than real ghosts, and their appearance at the end is a dour joke. The characters are free of the narrative, but they can't do anything outside that structure.

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Re: 1069 Céline and Julie Go Boating

#75 Post by zedz » Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:53 pm

Shrew wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:38 pm
I've always taken the ghost house to be a stand-in for a novel, or more generally a "narrative" intruding into the hitherto free-form film. That doesn't mean narrative is bad--it's what we crave and so the girls keep returning to the house. But narrative is also limiting, so the girls intervene. I see the trio in the house as characters more than real ghosts, and their appearance at the end is a dour joke. The characters are free of the narrative, but they can't do anything outside that structure.
I think one of Rivette's major themes is that narrative is a fundamental human craving, but it's also a trap, which is why we have so many conspiracy theories in his films and a lot of repeating narratives in the films that the characters are trying to transcend, such as the house drama in Celine et Julie or the rehearsals in Band des Quatres (and plenty of other films). Characters are always trying to construct narratives to make sense of their world and experience, and even if - in the context of the film - this is sometimes folly, it's also an opportunity for great pleasure.

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