Celine and Julie Go Boating

The least well known of the New Wave founders, and easily the least prolific, Jacques Rivette created the most mysterious and labyrinthine movies among his fellow critics-turned-filmmakers; they're wonders of theater, art, conspiracy, and imagination. Celine and Julie Go Boating, a 1974 haunted-house fantasy turned literary puzzle, is his signature work, and his most imaginative. Two strangers—a cabaret magician (Juliet Berto) and a librarian (Dominique Labourier)—meet, become fast friends, swap places, and unravel the story of the haunted mansion (a veritable film within a film). Think Alice in Wonderland meets Henry James by way of Fantômas. With his stars (and screenwriter Eduardo de Gregorio), Rivette developed this multilayered story of mystery, magic, and adventure. Over three hours long, Celine and Julie is dense yet playful and entertaining, a piece of dream theater full of witty digressions and detours. The film, not available on DVD, begins NWFF's repertory series 35mm: The Celluloid Dream (through Aug. 23) and is followed by The Grand Illusion, The Graduate, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The Long Day Closes, and The Devil, Probably. (NR) SEAN AXMAKER

June 29-July 5, 7 p.m., 2012

 
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