The French New Wave, which lasted from the late 50s to the early 60s, was certainly influential, alternately inspired or silly. Inspired in encouraging personal styles of film-making (a terrific example being Godard's "A Bout de Souffle", also re-released this week), it also led to the stupidity of insisting that the director was king. Even now, forty years later, the most lame-duck director will have his name in king-size letters above the credits.
Fortunately, Jacques Rivette, a founder of the New Wave and director of "Céline and Julie Go Boating", was worthy of big letters, in the sense that his approach was hugely individual so any one of his films was very much his. Intoxicating and frustrating in equal measure, "Céline" is at the very least different, and Rivette takes pleasure in challenging narrative conventions and making us consider what cinema really is.
Céline and Julie are two girls who either meet or imagine two ghostly ladies in a haunted house. Rivette's originality means that we find ourselves in the midst of what often seems like a dream, in which suspense, broad humour and improvisation all find their place; his pleasure means that he doesn't know how to stop his film lasting a week (well, over three hours).