Céline and Julie Go Boating

(dir. Jacques Rivette, 1974)

Céline and Julie Go Boating

INTRODUCED BY ALI SMITH

a screening as part of the Swedenborg Film Festival 2017 with Ali Smith

2 November 2017 | 6.00 pm for a 6.30 pm start | Swedenborg Hall, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH | Free admission (but book in advance)

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"Rarely seen today, yet the director’s biggest commercial hit, Jacques Rivette’s Céline and Julie Go Boating is an exhilarating combination of the themes of theatricality, paranoia and ‘la vie parisienne’, all wrapped up in an extended and entrancing examination of the nature of filmmaking and film watching."

Celine (Juliet Berto), a magician, and Julie (Dominique Labourier), a librarian, meet in Montmartre and wind up sharing the same flat, bed, fiancé, clothes, identity and imagination. Soon, thanks to a magic sweet, they find themselves spectators, then participants, in a Henry James-inspired 'film-within-the film', a melodrama unfolding in a mysterious suburban house with the 'Phantom Ladies Over Paris' (Bulle Ogier and Marie-France Pisier), a sinister man (Barbet Shroeder) and his child. The atmosphere, however, is more Lewis Carroll, with Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier as twin Alices. The four main actresses improvised their own dialogue in collaboration with Rivette and scriptwriter Eduardo de Gregorio. Acknowledged by director Susan Seidelman as a huge influence on her own hit film Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Celine and Julie Go Boating was Rivette's greatest commercial and critical success – its freewheeling, playful spirit still capturing the imagination of new audiences today. (BFI.com)

THE 2017 SWEDENBORG FILM FESTIVAL explores the theme of 'dreams', with a season of iconic features and visionary shorts chosen by the writer Ali Smith. With free admission, screenings take place in grade-II-listed Swedenborg Hall at the heart of Bloomsbury.

Shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize and one of today's most significant and original storytellers, Smith has curated a season of films – from rarely seen cinematic masterpieces to contemporary artist shorts – all questioning boundaries between imagination and reality, performance and identity. Smith is also guest judge of the annual Swedenborg Short Film competition, featuring international artists with new moving image works responding to the theme of 'dreams'. The festival will conclude with the screening of the 2017 shortlist and Smith's announcement of the winner.