Just kidding. But then again, mark my words: when the new 35mm print of Jacques Rivette's 1974 Celine and Julie Go Boating hits Film Forum beginning May 4, some "relevance" trolling dipstick who actually believes that the cultural vegetable is an actual category will make the comparison in absolute earnest, and whichever dolt decides to do so, he or she won't, in fact, be bereft of supporting evidence. Because the relationship between the two title characters, who were not just portrayed but in fact conceived and written by Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier (Celine and Julie respectively, and pictured thus from left to right, above) is a pretty bold if not quite unprecedented-in-cinema (or maybe it was, I'm hust not in a position to assert it as such) portrayal of feminist-and-counterculture-inflected female friendship. The meeting cute between the two characters, the erotic charge between them that never actually culminates in sexual exchange, the immediate frankness of their dialogue, the ease with which they swap roles the better to help each other, their easy cattiness; all these are aspects of a certain manifestation of Girl Power that's since been depicted/celebrated in all manner of cultural product. Susan Seidelman has cited this film as an influence on her own Desperately Seeking Susan, so it's not as if the connection is necessarily obscure.
Granted, it's not a connection that I find particularly interesting, and while I'm all for any kind of hype that will attract more viewers to this long and very unusual film, I also reserve the right to think of anyone who makes it in a particular kind of earnest as a particularly dull opportunist. The personal dynamic between Celine and Julie, which is extrapolated from both the actual friendship of Berto and Labourier and the imaginative discipline they applied to it, is demonstrably a by-product of the generous approach Rivette applied to the film's creation. This approach was an invention of necessity, in a sense; Berto and Rivette had been attached to a project for which financing wasn't happening, so this was conceived as a cheap, near-on-the-fly alternative. Narrative elements were grafted in, as it were; co-scenarist Eduardo de Gregorio tapped Henry James' novel The Other House, which he only knew from a stage adaptation, for the "haunted" house narrative, and of course Lewis Carroll was an inspiration...
The miracle of the film is that all of its disparate elements are mixed into the final cut that the film achieves that rarest of qualities: it creates a world of its own, a world in which everything on screen represents an opening for the viewer. The black ruffled shirt that Barbet Schroeder's Olivier wears throughout is not just ridiculous on the face of it, but is arguably "wrong" for the period in which the "other house" action is repeated, day after day (until Celine and Julie magically intervene for the film's delightful climax). And yet it is not wrong at all under the particular circumstance the film conjures.
Similarly, in a late reiteration of Bulle Ogier's Camille injuring her hand on a broken champagne flute and being attended to by the nursemaid (who, depending on who's having the vision, is a version of either Celine of Julie), the shots of her "bleeding" hand very clearly reveal the tube around her forearm from which the fake-blood feed gushes.
In any other film this would be a "gaffe." Here, I aver, it absolutely does not. Rather, it constitutes another layer of the onion of this movie's reality and inspection of reality/"reality." There is similar devilment at work in portions of Rivette's epic Out: One, but Celine and Julie represents a thoroughly concentrated/distilled declaration of aesthetic principle, a principle as playful as it is profound.
But back to Girls: here's my pitch. Celine and Julie In Brooklyn, starring Ry Russo-Young as Celine and Dunham as Julie. They write their own parts but John Ashbery constructs the "plot," using the Wikipedia entry for James' The Sacred Fount as a crib for the haunted-house story. Alex Karpovsky can play Ford Obert. We shoot in the Heights—I know a guy with a brownstone—and Williamsburg, and Brooklyn Bridge Park for the "meet cute" scene. I think I can lease a RED camera relatively cheap if I play my cards right. LET'S DO THIS PEOPLE.