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Celine and Julie Go Boating

Seattle Screens: The Magic of ‘Celine and Julie’ and ‘Mike’

Juliette Berto in ‘Celine and Julie Go Boating’

Jacque Rivette’s 1974 Celine and Julie Go Boating is an all-too-underseen landmark of seventies cinema. Unavailable on DVD, it’s back for a week at NWFF in a new 35mm print and I review it for Seattle Weekly. “Think Alice in Wonderland meets Henry James by way of Fantômas…. More than three hours long, Celine and Julie is dense yet playful and entertaining, a piece of dream theater full of witty digressions and detours.”

Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, a comic drama of life as a male stripper starring Channing Tatum and inspired by Tatum’s own past, is a return to a more playful style of filmmaking for the director. Kathleen Murphy reviews the film for MSN Movies: “this director shares Robert Altman’s eagle eye for the idiosyncrasies of folks who populate a showbiz subculture, as well as his ability to riff on rhythms of half-heard, possibly improvised conversation among guys who share a trade, however infra dig.” Opens at area theaters.

Openings

The Amazing Spider-Man, the new reboot of the comic book franchise that essentially kicked off the superhero movie boom just over a decade ago, opens in area theaters on Tuesday, July 3. Expect reviews to hit the web anytime after the weekend.

‘People Like Us’

People Like Us, which stars Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks and was features at SIFF 2012, opens this weekend at area theatres. I kinda wanna support this film, since it’s a summer movie about people and family relationships instead of superheroes and explosions, but good intentions don’t necessarily pay off with good films. I tend to line up with Brian Miller at Seattle Weekly. “It’s a four-act soap opera that actually would’ve been improved with commercials,” he writes. “People Like Us is slower than Tarkovsky; it’s like watching three James L. Brooks movies in row.” Moira Macdonald takes the “pro” side at The Seattle Times.

Two more SIFF 2012 films also open this week: Polisse, a fictional film about the Child Protective Unit in the French police department at The Harvard Exit (reviewed by John Hartl in The Seattle Times), and Bobcat Goldthwait’s violent cultural satire God Bless America at The Uptown (reviewed by David Goldstein at The Stranger).

100% Off: A Recession-Era Romance, a low-budget, locally-produced romantic drama, plays Tuesday and Thursday at Grand Illusion (the theater is closed for July 4), and continues though next weekend. Brian Miller reviews it for Seattle Weekly: “This shoestring Romance may be grainy and hard to follow, but it’s also considerably more ambitious than your average local indie.”

Also new this week: Where Do We Go Now?, a drama set in a village in the Lebanese countryside (at Sundance Cinemas), Seth McFarlane’s Ted (area theaters), and Madea’s Witness Protection (area theaters).

The Beat Hotel, a documentary by Alan Govenar on the American Beat poets in Paris between 1957 and 1963, plays through Sunday at NWFF. Also at NWFF: Reach of Resonance, a documentary on the music of noise, plays July 2 and 3, and a program of Search and Rescue finds on Thursday, July 5.

‘Fantastic Planet’

Repertory

A 35mm print of Rene Laloux’s landmark animated feature Fantastic Planet plays for a week Grand Illusion. More fantasy than science fiction, the story of the oppressed Oms’ struggle for the right to live is a strange but simplistic mix of “David and Goliath” and civil rights with an equally offbeat animation style more indebted to art direction than animation quality: Weird, lush landscapes and bizarre imagery create an alien world of wonder and terror, which Laloux presents from an eerie remove.

The Seattle Art Museum’s summer film series, “Queen of Screwball: The Films of Jean Arthur,” opens on Thursday, July 5 with John Ford’s snappy 1935 comedy The Whole Town’s Talking, the film that elevated Arthur to leading lady status.

New Czech Films Tour 2012 presents five films at SIFF Film Center. The series opens on Friday, June 29 with Walking Too Fast, with director Radim Špacek in person, and continues through Sunday, July 1.

Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata and the Masters of Studio Ghibli, a series of 15 films from Ghibli presented in 35mm prints, continues at The Uptown for another week. Full schedule here, and my thumbnail reviews of ten highlights are at Parallax View here.

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Review: Céline and Julie Go Boating

[Originally published in Movietone News 58-59, August 1978]

Céline and Julie Go Boating just may bring Jacques Rivette from the background to the foreground in the continuing history of French New Wave directors. Rivette is another of the Cahiers du cinéma writers who made his way from critic to director but, at least until now, has remained something of an unknown quantity, more mentioned than seen. Commercial and legal difficulties with his first two films (Paris Belongs to Us, 1958-60, and The Nun, 1962) meant that his movies were discussed by European observers long before they were shown (and then only briefly) in this country. His films since then have been extraordinarily long (Spectre runs 13 hours; Out One, a much shorter assemblage from the same footage, still runs four hours) and that may have a lot to do with the apparent lack of circulation accorded L’Amour fou, a four-hour Rivette which has had a U.S. distributor for some time but scant bookings.

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