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L'Atalante [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, Michel Simon, Gilles Margaritis, Louis Lefebvre
  • Directors: Jean Vigo
  • Writers: Jean Vigo, Albert Riéra, Jean Guinée
  • Producers: Jacques-Louis Nounez
  • Format: Black & White, Original recording remastered, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • VHS Release Date: November 11, 1998
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302590388
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #599,150 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The story is so simple, it hardly exists: a young girl marries a mate aboard a river barge named L'Atalante; she grows bored and frustrated with the dull life that results; when the barge docks in Paris, she runs away, only to discover that she misses her husband. But the power of L'Atalante isn't in its story--it's in the way the camera captures the world in rich, dreamy images, steeping the audience in a viewpoint both innocent and stark. The simplest things are also implacable and confusing. The characters' personalities, and the ways they conflict, have the deep frustrations of real life, and not the easily resolved plot points of most romances. The culmination will leave you aching with happiness and lingering sorrow. Director Jean Vigo--who died of lung disease after completing the film--had an astonishing ability to make the real world translucent; cinematographer Boris Kaufman said, "He used everything around him: the sun, the moon, snow, night. Instead of fighting unfavorable conditions, he made them play a part." This film is a masterpiece, comparable to Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali or the movies of Robert Bresson in its ability to be simultaneously effortless and devastatingly complex. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "filmbuff2000" on September 7, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
In 1934, Jean Vigo came as close to actually creating a cinematic poem as anyone before or since. Jean Vigo was one of cinema's greatest tragedies, a boundless original talent that was just springing and had much more to offer. Who knows how many more masterpieces he would have filmed? In 1933 he made the imaginatively surreal `Zero for Conduct' and caused a lot of controversy and even caused it to be banned in some countries. But the film that followed; L'Atalante, would be his crowning masterpiece, a hauntingly beautiful and poetic film. Vigo tragically died of septicemia at 29 but not before leaving us this beautiful dream-like masterpiece. One of the screen's greatest romances and probably the best and most understanding film ever made about young love. Boris Kaufman's evocative cinematography captures some of the most hauntingly beautiful images ever filmed. Some of the scenes linger in the mind for quite a long time after the first viewing. The scene when the two young lovers are making imaginary love in separate locations and the sequence when Jean Dasté dives into the water to try and picture his beloved's face are intoxicatingly beautiful and unforgettable. Even the performances are timeless. Jean Dasté, who also starred in Vigo's `Zero for Conduct' is unforgettable as the young captain of L'Atalante who is hopelessly in love with Dita Parlo. Parlo delivers a truly timeless performance, she would star in Renoir's `Grand Illusion' just four years later. But it is Michel Simon's legendary performance as Jules that is truly unforgettable. Simply one of the most beautiful and deeply poetic films ever made and it still feels passionate and moving. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film a 10!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By francis frears on July 9, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Vigo's "L'atalante" is often placed among the published lists of the greatest films ever made and this status is fully deserved. The story of the film is simple, a young couple aboard a boat experience trouble in thier young marriage before coming together at the end, yet it is Vigo's style of narration and the way the film is told that makes it stand it. Vigo catches the humanism of his story through an incredible dream like, surreal and anarchic style of photgraphy and editing(featuring some of the most beautiful images ever) to compel and move the viewer beyond belief, as countless sublime moments truly capturing the essence of young love fill our screens. The performances are of the highest standard, notably from the beautiful Parlo (also to be seen in Renoir's "La grande illusion") and the poetic quality of the images unlike anything captured before or since. On the evidence of this, and his earlier "Zero De Conduire", Vigo would surely have become the greatest director of the sound age hads it been not for his death at the age of 29.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
L'Atalante tells the simple story of the trials and tribulations of newlyweds who literally float down the river of life. But there's much more to this movie. The poetic cinematography, the down-to-earth characters, etc. give the film an almost enchanted quality. So many things ring true in this film. The scenes where the newlyweds try to adjust to each other's habits and idiosyncrasies will have you nodding your head. Dita Parlo gives an excellent perfomance as Juliette, the naive young wife who's attracted to the bright lights of Paris, only to discover the seedier side of the city. Michel Simon's role as Jules has to rank among the greatest supporting performances ever. I loved the scene where Jules shows Juliette some of his prized possessions. It's such a shame director Jean Vigo died at a young age. Just think of how many more great movies he would have made.
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Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
This is such a classic. A must watch. Great style, great music, great love and spice. Pretty perfect story if you just want to feel lovely. Great characters too.
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