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Jacques Rivette’s biggest commercial hit is an exhilarating combination of the themes of theatricality, paranoia and ‘la vie parisienne’, all wrapped up in an extended and entrancing examination of the nature of filmmaking and film watching. Celine (Juliet Berto), a magician, and Julie (Dominique Labourier), a librarian, meet in Montmartre and wind up sharing the same flat, bed, fiancé, clothes, identity and imagination. Soon, thanks to a magic sweet, they find themselves spectators, then participants, in a Henry James-inspired 'film-within-a-film'.
The melodrama that unfolds before them is set in mysterious suburban house populated by the 'Phantom Ladies Over Paris' (Bulle Ogier and Marie-France Pisier), a sinister man (Barbet Schroeder) and his child. The atmosphere, however, is more Lewis Carroll, with Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier as twin Alices. Acknowledged by director Susan Seidelman as a huge influence on her own hit film Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Celine and Julie Go Boatinh has a freewheeling, playful spirit that still capturing the imagination of audiences today.