Genre: Drama, Romance
Duration: 89 mins
Starring: Michel Simon, Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, Gilles Margaritis, Louis Lefebvre, Maurice Gilles, Raphaël Diligent
Director: Jean Vigo
Funny, heart-rending, erotic, suspenseful, exhilaratingly inventive... Jean Vigo’s only full-length feature satisfies on so many levels, it’s no surprise it’s widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.
When Juliette (Dita Parlo) marries and moves in with Seine barge captain Jean (Jean Dasté), their relationship soon shows signs of strain. Sharing the cramped boat with eccentric bosun Père Jules (Michel Simon), a cabin boy and a clutter of cats doesn’t help; nor do Jean’s jealous tendencies or the couple’s reluctance to compromise… To this simple story Vigo brings an extraordinary array of ideas and insights, while the lustrous lyricism of Boris Kaufman’s camerawork, injections of surrealism and the almost childlike innocence of the performances locate the film in a fertile territory between objective realism and subjective fantasy. In their scenes together (which include one of the most erotic in cinema), Dasté and Parlo reveal an achingly vulnerable intensity. No other movie matches its mix of playfulness, poetry, sensuality and tenderness; this masterpiece is truly timeless.