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L'Atalante

L'Atalante (1934)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

89

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 5,376

My Rating

Movie Info

The most acclaimed (and sentimental) film in Jean Vigo's short career. L'Atalante is the name of the barge owned by Jean (Jean Daste), who marries the lovely Juliette (Dita Parlo) at the film's beginning. Juliette comes to live aboard the barge, for Jean makes his living on the Seine. The arrival of a woman on board disrupts the small crew, but they do their best to make her welcome. The solitude and boredom soon take their toll on Juliette, so Jean brings her ashore for a night at a cafe in

Apr 15, 2003

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (28) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (0) | DVD (8)

A major inspiration to subsequent generations of filmmakers, yet no one has ever succeeded in matching it.

July 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Originally released in 1934, Jean Vigo's first and only full-length feature is one of the cinema's greatest masterpieces.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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A landmark of French cinema and one of the most beloved film romances.

April 13, 2006
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The action is episodic and diffuse but Michel Simon, as the dour and cat-loving barge hand lends a bit of comic relief to the pallidly poetic proceedings.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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There is much playfulness and poetry, such visual riches.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rapt, exuberant and as fragile as mist, this passionate tone poem drifts in its own bubble of oddly dissonant, almost fatalistic romanticism.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An exhibition in technical ingenuity and visual storytelling that was way ahead of its time.

January 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

L'Atalante manages to be more modern than anything being made today.

January 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Generous tides of life and longing flow through this buoyant masterpiece.

January 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

easily Vigo's most "commercial" film, but it never loses the essence of his more abstract and poetic sensibilities

September 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

The film has a weird kind of poetry and beauty about it that is hard -- perhaps impossible -- to describe.

August 26, 2011 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

One can't help but mourn the films an even more mature, capable and confident Vigo might have made had not TB cut him down at the tender age of 29

April 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Blending naturalism and surrealism, this is a work of unique poetic power, a masterpiece that anticipated neo-realism by a decade; the fact that it's Vigo sole completed feature doesn't lessen his status as one of the world's greatest filmmakers.

January 24, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

This quiet little French number is a gossamer confection, but for a film of its era, it's gorgeous to look at.

June 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

A cine-poem ode to the rhythms of life and love set on a barge travelling along the Seine, Jean Vigo's L'Atalante stands as one of cinema's indisputable masterpieces.

April 19, 2005 Full Review Source: BBC

This makes it a film that can be both appreciated by cineastes and enjoyed by anyone looking for a good romance story.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Stands as one of the most beautiful and rich celebrations of human connection in the history of cinema.

April 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

This 1934 French classic is a work of enduring poetry that has launched a thousand other movies.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

A paean to evanescence and, however paradoxically, an enduring embodiment of the same concept: a wispish film from a short-lived director that has nonetheless been dreamed and re-dreamed, never the same way twice, for almost 70 years.

January 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

Hands down one of the most poetic, romantic and sentimental films I have ever seen.

December 12, 2002
Greater Milwaukee Today

Audience Reviews for L'Atalante

A young barge skipper brings his new wife to live on board the ship L'atalante with him; confined to the boat, she grows bored, leading to domestic tragedy. Simple and charming, with comic relief and memorable, poetic shots; a minor classic, though fans of sentimental romances will consider it a must see title in the genre.
October 28, 2011
366weirdmovies
Greg S

Super Reviewer

Super cute early French film from Jean Vigo.
May 5, 2011
kenstachnik

Super Reviewer

I barely remember this movie, I didn't see the whole thing, I'll have to watch it again sometime.
September 12, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

The image of Dita Parlo in a long white dress walking on the deck of a ship at night is one of the most strikingly beautiful ever committed to celluloid. It is her portrayal of an innocent and inexperienced girl and Michel Simon's drunk, well travelled sailor that make this film a joy to watch. It's amazing what Jean Vigo actually achieved at such a young age but it's also amazing what he got away with! Nearly 30 years later, directors like Pier Paolo Pasolini and Vilgot Sjöman were getting fined, banned and even arrested with imprisonment for a fraction of some of the 'Scenes of Female sexual desire' that are displayed here. Beautiful cinema.
July 6, 2010
SirPant

Super Reviewer

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  • L'Atalante (1934) (CA)
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