The Story of Marie and Julien

A fantasy film for grown-ups and incurable romantics, The Story of Marie and Julien follows the haunted love affair of two isolated Parisians, but its ghosts and phantoms extend far beyond the screen. Taking its cues from Cocteau's poetic fantasies and Poe's uneasy tremors (there's even a cat named Nevermore), Rivette's not-so-straightforward narrative is alternately told from the point of view of the solid, time-fixated Julien, who fixes clocks for profit and blackmails a mysterious woman for fun, and the ethereal Marie, his obscure object of desire. Their meeting (like in a dream), living (like in a trance), and loving (like in a legend) at first seem romantic, but soon a certain strangeness fills the air, as if some things have been lived, or told, before. Anchored by the earthy performances of Jerzy Radziwilowicz and Emmanuelle Béart as the star-crossed couple, this ephemeral tale hints that all love affairs are haunted by the loves that have happened before, and adds the Rivettean idea that the same is true of all stories.
—Judy Bloch

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