Jacques Rivette continues with his improvisatory tactics, allowing lead players to invent quite freely and also collab on the script. He mixes a modernized takeoff on Alice in Wonderland and a period tale of Henry James for an over indulged, overlong film that has some gem-like moments but also repetitiveness and preciosity.
Film just does not have the sustaining humor and more irrepressible madcap inventiveness to stave off an arbitrary, intellectual heaviness.
One day a girl reading a book of magic in the park, Julie (Dominique Labourier), sees a spindly, overdressed girl scuttle by dropping things. She follows this comic figure, Celine, played with wit by Juliet Berto, loses her but finds her on her doorstep.
This mythomaniac spins all sorts of tales of adventures and trips she obviously never had. But she touches a chord in Julie with one about a house with a strange triangle of two women and a man, a child and an alcoholic nurse.
Besides Berto and Labourier, who alternate some vivid scenes with lesser-endowed ones, Bulle Ogier, Marie-France Pisier and Barbet Schroeder are effective as the ghost-like family doomed to live out their drama for eternity.