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Sid’s Salon – Sid keeps the classic films coming!
December 12, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
L’Atalante –– (Black and White) French Jean Vigo 1934 1 hr. 27 min
Wednesday, December 12,6:15pm. (Note the date switch due to Christmas)
Address given with RSVP.
A love story between Jean, the captain of a barge on the Seine (Jean Dasté), and Juliette (Dita Parlo), a young woman from a Seine-side village who has never traveled far from her small town and certainly not to Paris, which is one of the barge’s regular stops. The third character is Père Jules, the astonishing Michel Simon, whom we saw three years ago in THE BEAUTY OF THE DEVIL. He is first mate on the barge, called L’Atalante, helped by a teenage boy in his early teens and a bevy of cats.
But the bare bones of the story do not begin to convey Vigo’s melding of poetry and his portrayal of the cramped reality of barge life. Almost every shot is superbly composed to convey a sense of place as well as an emotional view of that place and how it works in the story. For example, at key moments––half a dozen or more––either Jean or Juliette is placed walking as if on a tightrope along the edge of the barge, or along the edge of the Seine or a canal that stretches into the far distance, or on a beach where the breaking waves form that same diagonal. All these shots combine a sense of enormous space pulling us into the distance while guiding Jean or Juliette along the constrained emotional and physical path of the newlywed’s barge life. Almost every camera angle, in fact, and every shot beautifully uses black and white to reveal something about the characters and the change Jean and Juliette are going to experience. For example, when Jean gets annoyed at Juliette for spending time with Père Jules and pushes her, she pushes back, a hint of what is coming.
Vigo, who, at age 28, was dying of tuberculosis when he made this film, left us with an unequalled cinematic treasure.
Let us know if you need transportation. All are welcome. $5 for non-members.