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Duelle (une quarantaine) (1976)

The Queen of the Night battles the Queen of the Sun over a magical diamond that will allow the winner to remain on Earth, specifically in modern day Paris.



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Cast overview:
Bulle Ogier ...
Jean Babilée ...
Hermine Karagheuz ...
Jeanne / Elsa
Claire Nadeau ...
Sylvia Stern
Elisabeth Wiener ...
Allié de Viva
Jean Wiener ...
Au piano
André Dauchy ...
A l'accordéon
Roger Fugen ...
A la batterie


The Queen of the Night battles the Queen of the Sun over a magical diamond that will allow the winner to remain on Earth, specifically in modern day Paris.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

15 September 1976 (France)  »

Also Known As:

La vengeresse  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Follows Noroît (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

Rivet's equally befuddling but creatively slacker follow-up of Celine and Julie go boating.
21 March 2016 | by (Cairo, Egypt) – See all my reviews

In memory of the passing of Nouveau Vague spearhead Jacques Rivette (1928-2016), let's delve into WOMEN DUELLING, the follow-up of his pièce de résistance, CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING (1974).

The story is a convoluted mythopoeia, in modern-day Paris, with a close-knit cast of 7 (where two of them will exit the narrative earlier), it cobbles together a fantasy about two goddesses, Leni (Berto), the daughter of the moon and Viva (Ogier), the daughter of the sun, each year they only have 40 (une quarantaine) days to stay on earth. So in order to be endowed the power to remain here, both are seeking for a magic diamond, which is in the possession of a mysterious man Pierrot (Babilée, an agile dancer ), meanwhile his younger sister Lucie (Karagheuz) and his "ticket girl" Elsa (Garcia), who works in a dance club, are also drawn into the manipulative game instigated by Leni and Viva.

Shot with a subdued palette, the picture refuses to grant easy access towards the motivations of its characters at the beginning, audience can only patch pieces of information together after an occult face/off between Leni and Viva in the middle point, then the plot device becomes clear, it seems an ultimate duel between them is inevitably scheduled for the climax, but Rivette mischievously rebuffs a supernatural bravura, and outsources the task to a human being to banish both goddesses out of our universe.

As a fantasy piece, Rivette barely avails himself of special effect to sate viewers' triggered expectation, and utilises the more practical sleight of hand (editing, lightning and sound effect) to create the supernatural elements in the film. And there is a ubiquitous pianist (played by Jean Wiener) chaperons the narrative with his improvised music to condense a sublime sensation of mystics and metaphysics, conveyed through the overtly hollow and stilted dialogs.

In the main, WOMEN DUELLING is off-kilter, tongue-in-cheek and chicly inviting, a telling testimony that Rivette's cinematic wonderland is sheer one-of-a-kind, and challenges our accepted viewing habits up to the hilt!

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