Wednesday, May 9, 2012


It's quite an amazing experience, and I mean that in good and potentially Bad-WTF-Is-This-Anything ways. In a way it reminded me of the sci-fi short film Heaven is Now, if it were more like Inception.  And in French. And it didn't have really much music at all. Matter of fact what makes the film so unique and strange and both highly entertaining/engaging and off-putting sometimes in the same scene is that it's less about is story than it is more like a documentary Rivette shot on how much these two women (Juliet Berto as Celine and Dominique Labourier as Julie) love laughing and giggling at the silly scenarios and dialog they've come up with (they were also co-writers). It's as much about watching them, how much chemistry they have together as friends and bosom buddies (so to speak) as it is about watching what they watch in their 'visions'.

In short, it's about... still not totally sure exactly. The 'plot' that's to speak of (and really, who should care about that anyway, but I digress) is that these two women, Julie and Celine, meet by chance after one drops sunglasses or something and the other one follows the other to return them - all across the city. And then they strike up a friendship, based around...

I suppose that they're both amiable young women who have a fancy for magic. That is, one of them is officially a magician, the other is a librarian (I think). And then... one of the women, Celine I think, goes
into some strange house. Why she does go there I don't remember - perhaps thinking back now is like a dream unto itself - but when she emerges it's like she's totally drunk, stumbling around, and has a hard
candy with her. When she eats it, she can see what goes on at the house, which is basically like a macabre daytime soap operaghost-directed (so to speak) by Alfred Hitchcock.

Or Alfred Hitchcock by way of... the 70's.
So it goes, the two women get drawn more and more into this realm of  the 'house' and these people, particularly a little girl who seems subjected to the cruel, Bunuelian streaks of these rich people who roam
around in a trance (maybe they have done a better job already than Tim Burton could've ever done with his Gothic 'Dark Shadows'?) and it turns kinda like into a drug movie. Or a hallucination movie.

And all the while Berto and Labourier, both attractive in their own way if not gorgeous, more like naturally pretty (for Julie, and she was sweat-stains under her arm-pits, how rare/cool is that to see in a movie?), and both actresses are having a ball in this movie. That's the key for me I think; for the length that it's at, and it's pretty goddamn long, and for how obtuse things can seem (i.e. that scene at the sink where the woman's hand is bleeding and the nurse - interchangeable from shot to shot of the two leading ladies, a gag that
gets funnier and weirder the longer the movie goes on), there's always a sense of play.

Fyi - this is near the end of the movie... oh, spoilers shmoilers....
In fact, Celine and Julie Go Boating is one of THE movies about how to 'play' in cinematic terms, and not only that but watching other people play. It turns into an Inception deal where we're the audience to the
audience that is the macabre nightmare that is a home life (and with Barbet Schroeder as the husband!) There are some stretches in the film, like when Julie is by herself in the apartment looking over a picture
of her ex-boyfriend, that just goes on too long, and grows into tedium. But there's no other film like it, and when Rivette and his ladies hit their stride it brought me into its arms that would sometimes combust
and dance and giggle, especially in the last 40 minutes or so when Celine and Julie go together (not separate) into the house. Maybe the girls should count themselves lucky: it could have been the house out of Hausu.

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