Previously at the ICA - Films


6 Apr 20128 Apr 2012

Marina Warner described L'Atalante as 'one of the most tender and convincing love stories on film.'

A lyrically beautiful tale of life and love on the Seine, L'Atalante centres on a young barge captain (Jean Daste) who takes his bride (Dita Parlo) from her dull riverside village to live with him on the boat that plies the canal system round Paris. The marriage soon comes under strain: he is unwilling to indulge her excited desire to visit the city while she underestimates his backbreaking workload. The simple story of quarrel and reconciliation is illuminated with moments of poetic delight, such as an impromptu waltz to a record played on a phonograph, or the captain searching frantically for his wife underwater.

Directed by radical filmmaker Jean Vigo, who also made the equally-stunning Zero De Conduite (1993), L'Atalante is a masterpiece. As Francois Truffaut said, 'in filming prosiac words and acts, Vigo effortlessly achieved poetry'.

Jean Vigo, France, 1934, 89 mins, French with English subtitles, PG cert


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