The soundtrack of L'Histoire de Marie et Julien has birdsong, traffic noises, the sound of a school playground (we never see the kids- just hear them when the housedoor is opened.) At one point a plane goes over.
Rivette himself compares this movie to the Sixth Sense- which he likes because it's one of the few "intelligent" fantasy movies of recent years. Marie et Julien isn't a film about ghosts, though- it's a film about revenants.
The English language doesn't allow us to make Rivette's distinction between "fantomes" and "revenants". We have to borrow the French word. Revenants are like those ghosts you get in folk song and fairy tales- they appear solid. They can talk, eat, shag and- erm- go shopping.
Marie comes back. Why does Marie come back? She comes back because she needs to have her death- and so her life- acknowledged.
She is clearly much nicer as a ghost than she was as a living person.
And Julien? What do we make of Julien? He is a nasty old curmudgeon. Also a blackmailer. Lowest of the low.
Marie gazes at him the way the Death of Orphee gazes at Orphee. Orphee is also a shit.
Marie loves Julien and Julien loves Marie. Why? Why on earth?
Because they can.