Close Up

10 March 2018: Take Two: L'Atalante / Zéro de conduite


Zéro de conduite
Jean Vigo
1933 | 44 min | B/W | 35mm
French with English subtitles

“Banned by state censors until 1946 for its purportedly malicious attack on the French educational system, Zero for Conduct is certainly one of the masterpieces of the French cinema. Drawn from Vigo’s own childhood experiences, the film is situated at a dreadful boarding school in a Paris suburb where petty restrictions imposed on the students cause four schoolboys to organize a revolt. With its blend of poetry and realism, its psychological depth, and its profound sense of anarchy, Zero for Conduct remains one of the great subversive works of the cinema, an eloquent parable of freedom versus authority.” – Harvard Film Archive

Jean Vigo
1934 | 89 min | B/W | 35mm
French with English subtitles

“In Jean Vigo’s hands, an unassuming tale of conjugal love becomes an achingly romantic reverie of desire and hope. Jean (Jean Dasté), a barge captain, marries Juliette (Dita Parlo), an innocent country girl, and the two climb aboard Jean’s boat, the L’Atalante – otherwise populated by an earthy first mate (Michel Simon) and a multitude of mangy cats – and embark on their new life together. Both a surprisingly erotic idyll and a clear-eyed meditation on love, L’Atalante, Vigo’s only feature-length work, is a film like no other.” – Janus Films

Part of our essential cinema programme