‘L’Atalante’ must be French for ‘WTF?’

Vigo’s L’Atalante (1934) has made most world critics’ Top 10 lists for decades.

TCM broadcast it the other night, so I finally got to see it.

This is the Al Jolson of movies: that is, I don’t get it.

It doesn’t look that striking. The acting is hammy. The characters were really annoying.

The film is very much of its time and place (actually, somebody else’s…), reflecting as it does the previous French generation’s Dada/Surrealist obsession with machinery and the mechanical — and the surreal and exotic. (See: Picasso getting rich ripping off African art…)

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