Julien (Radwilowicz) is a man who repairs clocks and is in the process of blackmailing a woman known only as Madame X (Brochet). Julien is in love with Marie (Béart), who he once met at a party and has dreamt of ever since... more ». When they bump into each other in the street she too is keen to renew their acquaintance and soon moves into Julien's rambling old house. Slowly, it becomes apparent that there's something strange about Marie. Madame X helps Julien gradually realize that he has to uncover Marie's secret - and by doing so face losing her.« less
Pas de deux, Pas de quatre: A Phenomenal Ghost Story
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jacques Rivette is one of the most under appreciated French film directors in history - and one of the most creative. He seems to dwell in a space known only to cinema, a world as changing, transparent, enigmatic, and transient as the camera's interplay with scenes and actors. His works do not fit into the expected mold of cinematic storytelling: his mind is far too fertile to follow roads previously taken. In 'Histoire de Marie et Julien' he suspends time (two and a half hours of it) to focus on the possibilities of the living and the dead and the planes of ambiguity incited by dreams. The story is less important than the questions it raises and the impact is powerful - if you just stay with him to the last frame.
Julien (Jerzy Radziwilowicz) is an antique clock restorer, living alone with his cat 'Nevermore', a man whose seemingly dull life is touched by his role as a blackmailer to a Madame X (Anne Brochet), a strangely beautiful woman with dark secrets contained in a doll, some documents, and a letter - all somehow in the hands of Julien. Julien meets Marie (Emmanuelle Béart), an ethereally beautiful woman who appears to be both present and not present, depending on the moment. Julien first dreams of his encounter with Marie (as does she) and then they actually meet. In no time Marie is moving into Julien's large and musty home, surrounded by clocks and other elements suggesting time. They have a passionate love life and fall in love. Julien shares his blackmailing project with Marie and Marie is the one who is 'the other woman' in delivering parcels to Madame X in return for cash installments. Madame X's dark secrets include the suicide of her sister Adrienne (Bettina Kee) who appears to Marie in what seems to be an established relationship of some sort. Marie's duplicitous nature becomes more apparent.
To tell more of this wondrous tale would destroy the slow unraveling of this mysterious love story: best it be seen by the viewers. All of the actors are extraordinarily fine. Rivette spends much of the movie with silences allowing the camera and actors to peruse the atmosphere, encouraging his characters to just interact with the clocks, the cat, the rooms, the parks, the mystery of that netherland of life after death. It is breathtakingly beautiful.
The DVD adds poignant interviews with both Rivette and Béart and for once the featurettes add tremendously to understanding this difficult film. Rivette shares with us that he initially wanted to make this film years ago with Leslie Caron and Albert Finney, but that because he wanted the story of the film to grow into telling itself during the filming, he could find no financial backers. Having just viewed the film it would be difficult to imagine the same story with a finer cast than we have here. An unforgettable experience. In French with English subtitles. Grady Harp, August 05"
Prenom, Adain | Chicago | 10/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Subtle and incredibly beautiful. Really makes the heart ache in the end. Dreamlike and reminiscent of Poe, only perhaps more understated. I won'te spoil it by saying anything further, just watch it sometime and stick with it until the end."
Rivette's Histoire de Marie et Julien.
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 10/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Acclaimed experimental French film director Jacques Rivette is best known for his films La Religieuse (The Nun) (1965), Céline et Julie vont en bateau (Céline and Julie Go Boating / Céline and Julie Lose Their Minds) (1974), La Belle Noiseuse (The Beautiful Troublemaker) (1991), and The Story of Marie and Julien (Story of Marie and Julien) (2003). With a running time of 151 minutes, The Story of Marie and Julien tells the story of a man who repairs clocks, Julien (Jerzy Radziwilowicz), his mysterious love interest Marie (Emmanuelle Béart), and the woman he is blackmailing, Madame X (Anne Brochet). Julien lives alone in Paris with his cat, but dreams of Marie. Soonafter making a date with her, he asks Marie to move in with him. Her boyfriend is dead, and her past is clouded in mystery. Although they fall in love, Marie remains aloof, fearing that Julien will soon lose her and his memory of her. This prompts Julien to explore Marie's past with the help of madam X. Ultimately, Rivette's haunting drama explores the nature of love and relationships. The love scenes between Julien and Marie reveal Rivette's genius for combining sensuality with French aesthetics. The film is beautifully filmed, intellectually dazzling, and gradually builds to an unforgettable denouement. Highly recommended.
This movie is about life that you see through the eyes of de
Joseph M. Seda | 12/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of my favorites about love, loneliness, pain, sacrifice, and release. A clock worker who is a blackmailer, finds a lovely, but enigmatic woman to fill the void in his life and to help him with the blackmail. He gets advice from his love as well as from the victim. His love sacrifices her relationship with him and then regains it, because of his love for her and hers for him. Lots of Edgar Allen Poe like leaden images but not bleak or dreary."
Sex between Life and Death
M. Jay Sullivan | Cambridge, Ma | 06/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I liked this film far better in retrospect- particularly after watching the interview with the director Jacques Rivette, although the irritating interviewer couldn't begin to grasp the sagacious Rivette's quasi mystic vision. It's amazing how many of the directors of the French New Wave- Resnais, Roehmer, Rivette. Godard, Chabrol- are still making films 50+ years from when they started, and Rivette's current films may be the best now; are there any American directors who have made films for 50 years?
By non art film standards this is very long, and maybe even by those standards it still drags on. In fact, to many people this could be a yawner. However, the acting of- and the chemistry between- Emmanuelle Beart and Jerzy Radziwilowicz is riveting. There is much suspense here; and the minimalism of the film is classic new wave. The ghost(s)- caught between the living and the dead- (reminded me a little of the film "Ghosts" with Demi Moore) is interesting, mysterious and, perhaps, universal. However, the film still does drag a bit. However,the last half hour really speeds up, although the possible ghost redemption of Marie (Beart) is a little confusing. Moreover, steamy, erotic, and hauntingly verbal sex with a beautiful ghost does add interest to the first two hours. Five stars with more cutting- four stars as is."