ANOTHER French puzzle picture, as incomprehensible as "Last Year in Marienb a d" and almost asi fascinating, is Celine and Julie Go Boating ("AA", Paris Pullman and Phoenix, East Finchley).
Directed by Jacques Rivette, a former film critic and the latest fashionable experimentalist, it is to a great extent improvised on two stories by Henry James. It has also two sets of two heroines.
Both principals (Dominique Labourier and Juliet Berto) contributed importantly to the improvisation of their characters. Celine and Julie drift into each other's lives as they scramble up the heights of Montmartre to dream each other's dreams and play out each other's games and roles and fantasies.
The second pair (Bulle Ogier and Marie-France Pisier) conduct a whole other film within the film involving the fate of a small girl.
Julie is a magician, and the magic properties of the action -lollipops to suck. Taro cards to tell fortunes — give things the air of a grown-up fairy story, more than once recalling "Alice in Wonderland."
Julie's discovery or recollection of the house where she finds her old nurse, Poupic (Maric-Therese Saussure) promises an interlude of blessed sanity. But the door closes and we are whirled off again into the twin stories until Celine and Julie do indeed go boating, passing the other boatload along the Seine.
The only certainty they left me was my conviction that three hours and twelve minutes is too long for a film comedy (Revette's earlier film "Out" lasted twelve hours!). Shortly after it London runs, "Celine and Julie" will be shown in Brighton, Bristol, Newcastle, Warwick and Ldinburgh. Anybody who feels equal to the risk may well find courage rewarded.
A neat and engaging German movie is Line Breake ("U", Gate, Notting Hill).
Lina (Line Carstens) is a respec table little old lady of 82 whose bank forces her to give up her house and go into an old people's home. There she meets a retired hanker who is only too happy to help her get her own hack on the hank by a Capresque fraud which buys her a holiday in 'anrainia. Not as sentimental as It mignt ne, it is quite appealing, only unfortunately this rare "U' film is being show with an "X" certificate short, which spoils the Gate's clean bill.
Science fiction above all needs to he lucid. Logan's Run ("A", Empire) set in the year 2300, is a morass of muddle. Under elephan-, tine glass domes flourishes a monster shopping precinct where every material pleasure is on sale,
Confusing laws govern the community, who are ordered about by computer (nothing too far futuristic there) and supervised by sinister police waiting to liquidate as a "runner" anybody who aspires to prolong his so-called life beyond the age of 30, Warning stages on the way to LASTDAY are signalled by crystals in the palm of the hand.
Logan (Michael York) decides to make a run for it to reach "Sanctuary" accompanied by Jessica (Jenny Agutter). Averting all threats and the guardianship of a giant gleaming Dahlek called Box, they reach the derelict ruins of American Congress with the familiar statue of Abraham Lincoln and only one surviving inhabitant. This is a He-Ancient simply called Old Man and mercifully played by Peter Ustinov, whom they understandably try to persuade to accompany them when they less intelligibly turn back to the hell from which they had run.
Obsession ("AA", Plaza 1) is the kind of thriller which loses its effect through a central disbelief. Courtland (Cliff Robertson) is instructed by the police not to pay ransom to the kidnappers of his wife (Genevieve Bujold) and daughter. When the kidnap car crashes and everybody in it is killed, I couldn't make out whether the obsession of the title referred to his sense of guilt or to the attachment which makes (hGineinocriviaevveisitoutoinlitdalyagfaailnl )fowr haogirisl
the double of his late wife. When he takes her home to New Orleans, she in turn is kidnapped and the repetitious narrative involvement becomes inextricable.
Film star picture biographies seldom illuminate the star's talent. Carlotta Monti's authentic memoirs of her "fourteen indelible years" with the quirky great comedian does give W. C. Fields and Me ("AA", ABC 1, Shaftesbury Avenues) a first-hand touch, though no very enlightened appreciation of his genius.
Rod Steiger's valiant attempt to impersonate Fields cannot quite make him live again but gives an honourable rendering of his remembered comic genius, its rackety background and idiosyncrasies, while Valerie Perrin has a good shot at Carlotta.
Poor Marilyn Monroe's memory will not be allowed to rest in peace. Good-bye Norma Jean ("X", Casino) purports to tell the truth of her early days and of the consistent degradation to which she was subjected on her way to fame.
Nobody doubts that the Hollywood system could thus abuse a film-struck young "sex symbol". But the movie, which ends before the career we knew really began, is a distressing and brutally sensational over-emphasis of the dregs of her misadventures, Misty Rowe does not fail by too wide a margin in the difficult task of inpersonating Marilyn, Trackdown ("X", London Pavilion) is another cautionary tale of what can happen to a young girl like Betsy (Karen Lamm) who runs away from home to look for excitement in Los Angeles, even when she has such a tough protective brother as Jim (Jim Mitchum) to track down her fate from rape to morgue.
'the excitements are at least as lurid and revolting as those which befell poor Marilyn Monroe, although these are at the hands of street thugs and night-club racketeers instead of studio employees. Fraternal vengeance is sadistic enough to fit the crimes.
Freda Bruce Lockhart