The Story Of Marie And Julien review

Appearances prove deceptive in this supernatural love story from French director Jacques Rivette. Julien (Jerzy Radziwilowicz) is a clock-repairer who becomes intimately involved with Marie (Emmanuelle Béart), an enigmatic woman he met briefly one year earlier. Soon she moves into his house, but why is she so unresponsive to physical sensations - and why is she rearranging the furniture in an upstairs room? Via a businesswoman (Anne Brochet) he's blackmailing, Julien soon learns the secret behind his lover's behaviour...

A project Rivette abandoned in the '70s, this sombre tale has a curious, trance-like quality. The characters are puzzling but we're still intrigued by Julien's mysterious residence with its endless rooms, clocks and mirrors and mischievous black cat. Although slow-moving and muted in its emotional pay-off, the film is still distinguished by a subtle, layered performance from the ever-impressive Béart.

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