2360. L’ATALANTE (1934-France). With MICHEL SIMON, DITA PARLO, JEAN D’ASTE. Directed and co-scripted by JEAN VIGO. For decades this free-spirited and ingenious masterpiece has remained atop critics’ lists of all-time-great motion pictures. The scenario involves the marriage of the young lovers Jean and Juliette in a Normandy village. Jean is skipper of a barge, and after the wedding he and his beloved promptly set off on the boat in search of adventure. Joining them is Pere Jules (superbly played by the wonderful French character actor Michel Simon), the barge’s mate. The outÂlandish Pere Jules and his larger-than-life personality make him one of the richest and most memoÂrable characters in the history of cinema. What follows is the story of a new and fragile love becoming harshly tainted, leading to frustration and heartbreak. It will be up to the interfering hand of Pere Jules to salvage Jean and Juliette’s union. This description hardly does justice to the experience of seeing the film. Director Vigo innovatively unites realism and surrealism to concoct what might be best described as a celluloid poem which is as forceful as it is lyrical. This is the final credit in Vigo’s all- too-brief career. The director became ill during the film’s production and soon after its completion died of leukemia. He was just 29 years old. The film premiered in Paris on the day of Vigo’s funeral. Recommended. In French with English subtitles. 82 minutes Drama