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
Just like Eustache's "La maman et la putain", Rivette's "L'amour fou" is a challenging but also a very memorable film experience. We watch the disintegration of the relationship between Sebastian and Claire, while also witnessing the rehearsals of a stage play. Both Jean-Piere Kalfon and Bulle Ogier are great in the lead and as the end credits appeared on the screen, I felt very happy having seen this landmark film.
Unexpectedly personable - a caress, intimation. Shot in alternating grains, replete with tracking shots, close-up. Intertwinement of life and theatre, theatre and cinema: the actors’ roles in 16mm, the actors’ realities - distinct from the melodrama of Racine’s Andromache - in 35. Such duality lies at the heart of Rivette’s piece: the search for connection and fulfilment - be it artistic or personal - across all mediums, their dissolution over time - the fickle hearts, the anarchic preludes, the l’amour fou, in patient but thoughtful examination.
Also: Emir Kusturica is going to build a stone city.