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 filmmaking, and film-watching. Celine (Juliet Berto), a magician, and Julie (Dominique Labourier), a Librarian, meet in Montmartre and wind up sharing the same flat, bed, finance, 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 Schroeder) and his child. The atmosphere, however, is more Lewis Carroll, with Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier as twin Alices. The four main actresses improvised their own dialogue in collaboration with Rivette and scriptwriter Eduardo de Gregorio.
Acknowledged by director Susan Seidelman as a huge influence on her own hit film Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Celine and Julie Go Boating was Rivette's greatest commercial and critical success - its freewheeling, playful spirit still capturing the imagination of new audiences today. Extras New filmed introduction by Jonathan Romney on Rivette and Celine and Julie Go Boating Toute la memoire du monde (Alan Resnais, 1956, 20 mins, English subtitles) The Haunted Curiosity Shop ( R W Paul, 1901, 2 mins, silent) Illustrated booklet including a review by Tom Milne; interviews with Dominique Labourier, Juliet Berto and Jacques Rivette; Susan Seidelman's reflections on her Rivette-inspired Desperately Seeking Susan; director biography.
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: French ( Mono ), English ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: 2-DVD Set, Biographies, Booklet, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: A story about story-telling, Jacques Rivette's self-referential classic centers on the fanciful world of two women literally lost in the stories they tell each other. Celine (Juliet Berto) and Julie (Dominique Labourier) go from sharing a story about a haunted house to being part of a story about a haunted house -- or is it a real haunted house that has been called up by the story? The film blurs the line between the telling of the story and the story itself, as Celine and Julie, like Alice in Wonderland, become part of a surreal, drug-induced parallel universe; also like Alice, they ultimately become the heroines of the story that first imprisoned them. Rivette celebrates the magic of stories, and more broadly of imagination, adventure, and friendship, as essential elements of life; the themes are familiar from his other movies, but the tone is more playful. This enigmatic and fanciful film is not for all tastes, but, for its many devotees, it is one of the most distinctive and imaginative movies ever made. ...Celine and Julie Go Boating 2-DVD Set ( Céline et Julie vont en bateau ) ( Phantom Ladies Over Paris )