Anne Goupil is a literature student in Paris in 1957. Her elder brother, Pierre, takes her to a friend’s party where the guests include Philip Kaufman, an expatriate American escaping McCarthyism, and Gerard Lenz, a theatre director who arrives with the mysterious woman Terry. The talk at the party is about the apparent suicide of their friend Juan, a Spanish activist who had recently broken up with Terry. Philip warns Anne that the forces that killed Juan will soon do the same to Gerard. Gerard is trying to rehearse Shakespeare’s “Pericles”, although he has no financial backing. Anne takes a part in the play to help Gerard, and to try to discover why Juan died. —IMDb
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
Pascal Bonitzer's theory on de-framing (décadrage) finds here one of its defining examples: as on Straub or Rouch, the un-centered compositions aren't pictorial, but reinforcements of the borders as a limit - a tool used on narrative purposes such as the threats that are always invisible (for us and for the characters), outside of the frame.
As if Rivette wants to prove that the border doesn't separate what's in the frame from what isn't (hence the insistence on takes of people crossing doors - from a space that's visible to one that wasn't), but rather what's diegetic from what isn't - the paranoia and conspiracies lurking around the frame, which are more of a preconceived idea than something necessarily "real". The evasion of the center-frame also brings an idea of emptiness, of ghostly nature that fits the overall ambience of the film: after all, what are these characters but wandering souls in a ghost town?
Hints of a filmmaking conspiracy.
Paris Belongs to Us/Paris nous appartient (1961)
Jacques Rivette’s wry depiction of Paris bohemian pretenders obsessed with phantom adversaries to enhance their self esteem which… read review