Widely considered Rivette’s crowning achievement, Celine and Julie Go Boating remains perhaps his most enveloping work, a film replete with stories within stories, performances within performances, and the sense of formal gamesmanship present throughout his oeuvre. Eccentric magician Celine (Juliet Berto) meets cute with curious librarian Julie (Dominique Labourier), and their fast friendship sends them down the rabbit hole and into an apparently haunted house. With the aid of magical candy (part acid tab, part Proustian madeleine), they return time and again to the mansion to spy on and eventually play parts in a gothic murder mystery. Co-written by Eduardo de Gregorio and the film’s actresses (including Bulle Ogier and Marie-France Pisier), Celine and Julie Go Boating remains Rivette’s most enduring and influential investigation of the porous boundary between life and art. An NYFF12 selection.
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