Monthly Archives: January 2016

RIP Jacques Rivette (1928 – 2016)

RIP Jacques Rivette

Above: trailer to Celine and Julie Go Boating.

Celine and Julie Go Boating (French: Céline et Julie vont en bateau) is a 1974 French film directed by Jacques Rivette, often described as surreal in nature. Its plot is non-linear.

Celine and Julie Go Boating is a hypnotic, circular film, which starts slowly with the meeting of Julie (Dominique Labourier), a shy librarian, and Céline (Juliet Berto), a nightclub cabaret artiste, in a library reading room; and ends in a madcap murder mystery involving bloody handprints, time travelapparitions and magic sweets. The film is best known for its playful opening scenes of Julie chasing Céline around Paris; its references (particularly Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Bioy Casares‘s La invención de Morel and Henry James’ stories ‘The Other House‘ and ‘The Romance of Certain Old Clothes‘); and the odd device of the magic sweets. Some viewers have seen in the latter a reference to LSD, although Rivette has denied this.

RIP Ettore Scola (1931 – 2016)

Ettore Scola (1931 – 2016) was an Italian film director.

I remember A Special Day fondly. The story of an oppressed housewife and her gay neighbor who stay at home in Rome and enjoy a moment of tenderness on the day that Hitler visits Mussolini.

And then there was the film Brutti, sporchi e cattivi which literally means Ugly, Dirty and Bad but which was released as Down and Dirty (1976).

There is a scene in that film which I’ll never forget (above).

The background: A large and grotesque family live in an extremely poor bidonville of the periphery of Rome. The protagonist is one-eyed patriarch Giacinto (Manfredi). Four generations of his sons and relatives are cramped together in his shack, managing to get by mainly on thieving and whoring.

The scene: One night, a distant family member comes to the shack, sees the buttocks of the sleeping girlfriend of the patriarch, pulls down her underpants and starts to fuck her from behind. When she turns around and asks him quizzically “who are you?”, he answers reassuringly, “I am one from the house.” Whereafter he continues to fuck her (I believe).