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Céline and Julie Go Boating [1974] [DVD]

Juliet Berto , Dominique Labourier , Jacques Rivette    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: £17.37 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Céline and Julie Go Boating [1974] [DVD] + Paris nous Appartient [1961] [DVD] [1964]
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Product details

  • Actors: Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, Bulle Ogier, Marie-France Pisier, Barbet Schroeder
  • Directors: Jacques Rivette
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Sep 2006
  • Run Time: 192 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H5TIH4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,022 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A film by Jacques Rivette

Céline (Juliet Berto), a magician, and Julie (Dominique Labourier), a librarian, meet in Montmartre and wind up sharing the same flat, bed, fiancé, clothes, identity and imagination. Soon, thanks to a magic sweet, they find themselves spectators, then participants, in a Henry James-inspired film-within-the film - a melodrama unfolding in a mysterious suburban house with the 'Phantom Ladies Over Paris' (Bulle Ogier and Marie-France Pisier), a sinister man (Barbet Shroeder) and his child.

Céline and Julie Go Boating, Rivette's rarely seen yet biggest commercial hit, is an exhilarating combination of the themes of theatricality, paranoia and la vie parisienne, all wrapped up in an extended and entrancing examination of the nature of film-making (and film-watching).

DVD extras

  • New filmed introduction by Jonathan Romney on Rivette and Céline and Julie Go Boating, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles
  • Toute la mémoire du monde (Alain Resnais, 1956, 20 mins, English subtitles)
  • The Haunted Curiosity Shop (R W Paul, 1901, 2 mins, silent)
  • Fully illustrated booklet with essay by Tom Milne; interviews with Dominique Labourier, Juliet Berto and Rivette; Susan Seidelman's reflections on her Rivette-inspired Desperately Seeking Susan, and Rivette biography by Jason Wood

France | 1974 | black and white | French language with optional English subtitles | 192 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1
Region 2 DVD


'A mindbending adventure, an exhilarating plunge into the delights and terrors of memory and imagination' --Jonathan Rosenbaum

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A warning to the curious... 24 Sep 2006
This film isn't for everybody. When I saw it recently at the National Film Theatre, more people walked out over the course of it's 3+ hours than I'd ever seen at a cinema screening, not out of offense but out of boredom. To begin with, it feels loose and airy and virtually plotless as the two title characters encounter each other and gradually become inseperable. As they begin their odyssey, the film tightens up and kicks in to a series of repetitions of a bizzare scene Celine and Julie are drawn back to again and again. I've read reviews which would suggest that this is a surreallist film but, far from being completely irrational, it is shot through with meaning - it's themes are friendship, childhood and memory, coming to terms with the past; and then there's always the strange mystery story unfolding directly on the screen.

It isn't the sort of film that will effortlessly entertain you - the viewer is expected to take a few steps to meet it: it requires a commitment that few other films do in terms of suspension of disbelief, emotional involvement, not to mention the sheer time it takes. If you feel ready though, I'd suggest a darkened room, phones turned off, watch it from beginning to end. There's a good chance you'll find it as delightful as I did.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange and fascinating 10 Jan 2007
I've never done reviews before but feel compelled to write something about this glorious film, which i saw at the NFT last year. As we sat down to watch and then realised it was over 3 hours long, my girlfriend and I agreed to give it an hour or so before nipping out to get something to eat as planned.

Try as we might, it just proved impossible as the narrative, although at times bordering on painfully slow, gripped us both with the question of what was going to happen to the women, their relationship, and in that house! There are a lot of surreal aspects to this film but that doesn't make it irrational, rather it draws you in and, if willing, makes you think about the various pictures, objects and characters and their relation to each other, as well as the nature of reality.

A lot of the difficulty with watching this film comes during large, slow-moving scenes in the middle, but if you persevere as we did, you are rewarded with an increasingly fascinating and amusing finale in which the narrative becomes progressively quicker and the scenes ever stranger.

In the end, the desire to work through the story provided our incentive to stay, and i'm so glad we did; the twist at the end as well as one of the most sublime pictures in a film i've seen making it, for me, a captivating experience.

Against my expectations, I loved this film, and hadn't been so enraptured by a movie since seeing Cinema Paradiso (though for very different reasons).
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soft, strong and very, very long. 2 Feb 2008
Even by the French New wave's standards, director Jacques Rivette's films come across as, shall I say..'Unique'.
Which is probably the reason he isn't as well known as the other New Wavers, such as Godard and Truffaut.

Yet surely fans of the French New Wave are actively looking for films that are a little strange and obtuse aren't they? If that person is you, then I wholeheartedly recommend that you give this film a try.

Celine and Julie meet for the first time at Montmartre. They suddenly end up sharing everything, life, flat, fiance, job, everything. On discovering a magic sweet, they find themselves participating in a film within a film. A young girl has been murdered and the duo must piece together the clues to find the culprit and save the girl. (if that plotline isn't the embodiment of genius, I don't know what is).

Apart from the baffling, magical plot, Celine and Julie works due to the natural chemistry of its leading ladies, Dominique Labourier and the late Juliet Berto. Just watching them impersonating each other during several awkward moments is a joy to behold.
But what resonates most is how Rivette's camera seamlessly enters these characters lives. The viewer almost becomes a third member of this team. As they piece together the plot, we are just as confused as they are.
Then there are the visuals. All hazy loveliness and sweet dreams, this is a place that lies somewhere past the end of the rainbow.

They sure don't make them like this anymore.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Tonkfan
I am so grateful for Film-Four for showing this rarely seen masterpiece, which has hopefully brought this film to a wider audience.

It takes some patience and a great deal of dedication to watch for the first time, but if you can make the effort, each viewing after just gets better.

As reviews often point out, it's rather like an adult version of Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking glass, of which there are echoes throughout, and you never quite know what is real and what is hallucination. To be honest, it doesn't really matter, because the film is a triumph of ideas and imagination over rigid structure and stifling plot devices.

The early 70s setting seems to add to that feeling of hallucinogenic fantasy and illusion, and of a less cynical era when anything seemed possible. It's definitely not for everyone, but if you stick with it, Celine and Julie will take you on a far more satisying ride than any US blockbuster.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great to be reacquainted with this classic
Excellent quality transfer; the extras are probably of more interest to someone doing film or media studies as I found them very academic. Read more
Published 5 months ago by music lover
5.0 out of 5 stars OMG such a strange and weird film. See it!
This was quite celebrated in the 1960s. It's awfully strange, quite long and at first mystifying, centering on a strange fascination between two women who begin to take on parts of... Read more
Published 15 months ago by lewiscarrollnut
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most memorable films I have ever seen
I first saw this film in the seventies, in an almost empty cinema, with a very small audience, half of whom walked out during the intermission (!). Read more
Published on 10 May 2012 by Tuesdale
1.0 out of 5 stars Celine and Julie sent me to sleep!
Most of my favourite films are from the early 70s, far more artistic license was available to directors then than has ever been allowed before or since. Read more
Published on 20 May 2011 by Apostasy Now
5.0 out of 5 stars Tripping the light fantastic
Loved this film.It's a sort of glorious,silly romp full of spirit and joie de vivre,with a feel of the 60s, but filmed in the 70s Montmartre. Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2009 by technoguy
5.0 out of 5 stars C'est fantastique
At first I found it hard to get into and had to watch it in two sections as I got lost after the first 90mins (it is a whopping 192 mins - I say whopping as I have a short... Read more
Published on 6 Oct 2007 by C. Buckley
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, entertaining, fun
This is a brilliant, wonderful film. I have never seen a film more hilarious, enjoyable, charming and magical. Quite possibly the best film ever made. Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2007 by Archie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
On first viewing I wasn't sure just how much I actually liked this film, but the characters are so memorable (if slightly annoying at first, particularly Julie's repetoire of... Read more
Published on 20 Oct 2006 by lensman 23
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