“Don’t you know you can see the one you love in the water?”
— Juliette portrayed by actress Dita Parlo, in the French film L’Atalante, 1934. Directed by Jean Vigo. British Film Institute – 50 Greatest Films of all Time, movie quotes
As newlyweds Juliette tells her husband Jean (actor Jean Dasté) she saw his face in the water before he ever met her. As the story unfolds and Juliette is lost in the city of Paris, Jean out of desperation dives into the river with the hope of seeing her again.
Throughout the decades L’ Atalante has grown in stature and now many critics and audiences claim L’Atalante to be one of the greatest films in the world and it is a film that is usually compared along the likes of Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game, Orson Welles Citizen Kane, Vittoria De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. L’Atalante is a film that contains the whole world, and involves such universal themes as work and play, love and jealousy, dreams and adventure, and heartbreak and reconciliation.
“This must count as one of the most dazzling images of a loving woman in the history of the cinema.”
It was a film made by an artist who seemed to know he was going to die and intended it to be his final love letter to the world. In one of the most poetic shots of the film a love-stricken husband jumps into the icy canal, and while under the water he has a vision of his lost wife dressed in her wedding gown, who is floating beautifully like a ghost, as novelist Marina Warner wrote, “This must count as one of the most dazzling images of a loving woman in the history of the cinema.” source