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16 Atalante, L' 
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Post Re: 16 Atalante, L'
According to the consensus of several thousand critics, L'Atalante is approximately the 16th Greatest Film of all time. So, is it?

In the opinion of this dilettante, the answer is a resounding "no". Of course, it is by no means a bad film. In fact, I acknowledge it as a great one. I believe its lofty status is owed mostly to the director's unfortunate passing - at the tender age of 29 - shortly after making this, his fourth and final film.

The yarn is a straightforward one. After getting married, the young lady joins her husband on his river barge, L'Atalante. Most of the film's running time is spent on the boat, with a few stops along the way, most notably Paris. Without giving too much away, things start to go awry and eventually come to a head there.

What makes this film a great one are the little scenes throughout. For instance, it contains one of the most sensual scenes I've ever seen. The wife on her bed, pining for her husband, begins to run her hands all over her body. If that wasn't hot enough, she inserts one hand into her top and starts to squeeze her breast. The scene may be short, but its impact is certainly felt.

I don't regret watching this at all, and will easily recommend it to anyone. I just can't see it being the 16th best film of all time. 8/10.


Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:44 pm
Post Re: 16 Atalante, L'
I guess it would be alright to link to Rob's thoughts in the journey thread:

http://reelviews.net/reelviewsforum/viewtopic.php?p=16802#p16802


Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:45 pm
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Post Re: 16 Atalante, L'
I tried watching this a while back, couldn't make it past the 30 minute mark.


Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:10 pm
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Post Re: 16 Atalante, L'
calvero wrote:
I tried watching this a while back, couldn't make it past the 30 minute mark.


Wow, I'm actually surprised by that. The movie didn't strike me as difficult or even boring. What was so off-putting? The French-ness?


Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:22 pm
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Post Re: 16 Atalante, L'
Maybe a better print & sound would have helped. Criterion should take a crack at it. Its not that old, there should be some better sources out there.

But the story(or lack of one) & rather cartoonish characters didn't really help things.


Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:55 pm
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Post Re: 16 Atalante, L'
calvero wrote:
Maybe a better print & sound would have helped. Criterion should take a crack at it. Its not that old, there should be some better sources out there.


That I heartily agree with. Quality wasn't at all good. Those interested will have to look around: the dvd is currently out of print.


Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:08 pm
Post Re: 16 Atalante, L'
calvero wrote:
Maybe a better print & sound would have helped. Criterion should take a crack at it. Its not that old, there should be some better sources out there.


Well I have good news for you, sir!

I'm bumping this ancient thread to make you all aware that Criterion is releasing a set of every Jean Vigo film, L' Atalante included, in August. I still haven't seen this film (my motivation for finishing the top 100 dropped off awhile back, especially when most of the films I had left weren't on DVD), but I know I'm personally shooting it to the top of my Netflix queue and/or buying it immediately when August 30th comes 'round.


Mon May 16, 2011 5:28 pm
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Post Re: 16 Atalante, L'
L'Atalante is one of those films that does well in the Sight & Sound polls, which mystifies me since the story is pretty lightweight. It does have innovative camerawork that is very influential, and fine performances by Dita Parlo and Michel Simon (famous for Boudu in Boudu Saved from Drowning, which I don't like, but I do like him here). Parlo is a country girl who marries the staid captain (Jean Dasté) of a canal barge, and their lifestyles don't fit, and the captain has a nasty streak of jealousy. The basic plot is boy gets girl, boy loses girl, Michel Simon brings girl back.

Director Jean Vigo died at the age of 29 a few months after completing the film, but the version we have isn't complete. The film was widely panned at the time. (If I understand correctly, Simon goes looking for the girl in Le Havre and finds her, although as near as I can tell, she's still in Paris.) Frankly, a story of the making of this film would be more interesting than the film itself. The film is still pleasant to watch, but its masterpiece standing eludes me.

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Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:42 am
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