L'Atalante review

Jean Vigo commands heavyweight reverence, but it’s the lightness of his effortlessly rich feature that resonates. Completed in 1934 before Vigo died at 29, L’Atalante makes simplicity a virtue, milking the story of a couple’s (Jean Daste, Dita Parlo) honeymoon on a barge for a meditation on love’s mysterious rhythms.

As our newlyweds struggle with marriage, Vigo pairs realism with romance and illuminates yearning in sublime images of tender eroticism. With moggies and Michel Simon’s sailor adding comic colour, generous tides of life and longing flow through this buoyant masterpiece.


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