A stage work forms while a marriage collapses in perhaps the most remarkable of director Jacques Rivette’s many explorations of the intersection of life and art. Shooting in a dazzling mixture of 35mm and 16mm film stocks, Rivette cuts between an experimental theater company’s rehearsals for a production of Racine’s Andromaque, a television crew shooting a documentary of the performance, and the imploding relationship of the director Sebastian (Jean-Piere Kalfon) and his actress wife Claire (Bulle Ogier). Gradually, Sebastian and Claire pull each other deeper into a violent emotional vortex until, in the film’s startling, hour-long pièce de résistance, they lock themselves inside their apartment and embark on what the critic Tom Milne termed “a veritable orgy of passion which can be called neither love nor hate.” –FilmLinc
Jacques Rivette was born in Rouen in 1928. In 1950, he began attending the Cine-Club du Quartier Latin in Paris, and contributed articles to its bulletin, the Gazette du Cinema, edited by Eric Rohmer. During this time he embarked on his career as a filmmaker with his first short films, Aux Quatre Coins (1950), Le Quadrille (1950), and Le Divertissement (1952).
Rivette’s friendship with Rohmer led him to begin writing articles for the new film journal Cahiers du Cinema. Here he met and became friends with Claude Chabrol, Francois Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard. At Cahiers he became one of the first to champion contemporary American cinema as opposed to the staid French “cinema of quality”, then prevalent. He became known as a fierce advocate of the auteur theory and praising the work of such directors as Howard Hawks, Nicholas Ray, John Ford, and Robert Aldritch.
In the mid-1950’s he continued his filmmaking education by serving as an assistant… read more
The whole film, but especially the last hour, contains the moments that make cinema an artform of its own--simply, the power of reality. When an event is so fascinating to watch in its own context and is captured on camera. Bresson tried desperately to do this through his whole career and eschewed trained actors because of it, but Rivette seems to capture the entire 3rd act with scenes like this.
Also: Emir Kusturica is going to build a stone city.