When Juliette marries Jean, she comes to live with him as he captains a river barge. Besides the two of them, are a cabin boy and the strange old second mate Pere Jules. Soon bored by life on the river, she slips off to see the nightlife when they come to Paris. Angered by this, Jean sets off, leaving Juliette behind. Overcome by grief and longing for his wife, Jean falls into a depression and Pere Jules goes and tries to find Juliette.Written by
1950 --- Version of Henri Langlois/Cinémathèque Française and P.E. Salès Gomés/Cinemateca de São Paulo, 83 min running time, with additional footage from rushes and outtakes not included in the Director's cut, and putting together scenes from available versions found in film archives. See more »
The Atalante tells a simple story, however, as in works of art, it is the way of telling that puts the movie as a poetic experience. Shot in 1934, the scenes seem, at first, to repeat the vocation of documentarist director Jean Vigo (who would die before the distribution of the film), portraying a marriage in a country town.
As if out of a silent comedy, two gaudy men run before the guests to prepare a reception for the bride on the barge L'Atalante, who travels on the Seine between Le Havre and Paris. There is no bridal party and, still in a wedding dress, Juliette is literally hoisted on board hanging from the boom of the sails.
Soon the girl will discover that being married in a boat represents living together not only with her husband, the young captain Jean, but also with his mate, old Daddy Jules with his cats and a cabin boy. It is inevitable that the new inhabitant will come into conflict with the unhygienic habits of the three sailors.
There is no grandeur in the film, except when Juliette hears on the radio that the boat is arriving in Paris. The captain invites her to a night out in the Light City, but the adventure is thwarted because Jules goes out for one of his binges. Later, Jean walks with his beloved in the cafes and salons of Paris, where Juliette finds a Chaplinian magician that flirts and dances with her, under the angry glance of Jean.
The episode with this character ends up by awakening in Juliette a desire to know more about the city, which is not disloyalty to Jean, but a rapture of a country girl dazzled by the big city. When she leaves the boat alone, Jean is overcome with jealousy and anticipates departure, leaving her in the city.
The separation is painful for both. She suffers the violence and neglect of the city. He suffers from his wife's absence. The director leads the misadventures of both lightly, and although the pain is clear, there is nothing more than the certainty of a puerile act of jealousy. Experienced, old Jules knows the captain will never be the same again until Juliette returns aboard.
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