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Critics reviews
Around a Small Mountain
Jacques Rivette France, 2009
As it is in Lola Montes, the circus in Around a Small Mountain is a place of memory and mourning. In surroundings of gaudy sham opulence, Ophuls’ ringmaster cries out: “Does the countess still remember the past? Remember the past? Remember the past?” In Rivette’s austere tent, Kate sits on a bench and talks to herself: "I couldn’t forget! I can’t remember! Antoine! Antoine!
March 08, 2011
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It is a movie obsessed with ritualising stale roles and flat-footed acts and bringing art to life – and vice-versa. Here the Other World is simply The Past, and the shabby invocation/MacGuffin to control it is not to recover and enter it, but shrug it off. The ritual – Kate having a newspaper torn in her hands by a chain-whip – is dryly symbolic, bookended by a series of puns on casser (‘to break’) as ties to present and past and logic are cut from the private world of fantasy.
January 01, 2011
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Rivette is known, if for nothing else, for making epically long features; this is his shortest, sidling along after the tragic secret that’s kept Kate away from performing for decades. It’s all slight enough to blow away, and rare enough to warrant seeing it before it does.
July 06, 2010
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Even in a film this compact, Rivette takes his time. The action crawls along in the bright sunlight of a valley where the circus has settled temporarily. Here, the days begin and end and begin again, punctuated by short, stunning scenes of theatrically lit poses and choreography that evoke Rivette’s critical summary of mise en scène decades earlier as an "architecture of relations, moving and yet suspended in space.
July 01, 2010
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