Story of Marie and Julien

Film

Time Out says

Like his old New Wave muckers Godard, Rohmer and Chabrol, Rivette remains an often formidable talent. His last – ‘Va Savoir’ – was a masterly example of his dazzling wit and erudite eccentricity. This chamberwork, however, is darker, more demanding and, sad to say, rather drearier.

It begins intriguingly, with Julien (Jerzy Radziwilowicz) remembering/ dreaming about a chance meeting with Marie (Emmanuelle Béart). They fell for each other once before, but had partners. Now they’re free to begin again, and soon Marie moves into Julien’s house. But Marie’s changeable, even volatile, and not just because she finds out Julien’s been blackmailing a mysterious Madame X (Anne Brochet); she also has her concerns about his ex, and takes to doing disappearing acts and redecorating a room in the attic. Still, the sex is good, so he accepts her strange ways. Then Madame X’s sister turns up and tells Julien the secret she shares with his lover… So what’s it all about? Rivette’s leisurely pacing and somewhat detached mise-en-scène ensure that this mysterious tale, with its echoes of Poe and Hitchcock, never supplies the frissons expected of a ghost story or the emotional draw of a good love story. He meant to film the story in the late ’70s with Leslie and Albert Finney – the latter would almost undoubtedly have been livelier and more interesting than Radziwilowicz – but didn’t; maybe he shouldn’t have bothered. Far from bad, but academic and – for once with this director – overlong.

Details

Release details

Rated:
15
Release date:
Friday October 8 2004
Duration:
150 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Jacques Rivette
Cast:
Emmanuelle Béart
Jerzy Radziwilowicz
Anne Brochet
Bettina Kee