DUELLE (UNE QUARANTAINE) (Jacques Rivette, 1976)

Duelle is one of Jacques Rivette’s dreamiest, most elegant, most evocative “created realities.” Unfolding in an eerily vacated Paris, symbolical and expressionistic, beginning on the last night of winter’s new moon, it suggests a level of unconsciousness that’s lit, sparingly, from a yet deeper level of unconsciousness. It begins with the sound of an unseen […]

AROUND A SMALL MOUNTAIN (Jacques Rivette, 2009)

Enchanting Jane Birkin plays Kate in Jacques Rivette’s likely farewell film, the dreamy, humane 36 vues du Pic Saint Loup. Following his death, Kate returns to her father’s threadbare, faded circus (and to sister and niece) on its likely last tour and fifteen years after her likely banishment for jinxing the troupe’s insulated world by […]

PARIS NOUS APPARTIENT (Jacques Rivette, 1960)

Fascism continued after the war to be the principal shadow of murder (and self-murder) stalking the world and individuals in it; Paris Belongs to Us, written by first-time director Jacques Rivette and Jean Gruault, is the most terrifying political thriller ever made—one that expands the stalking shadow even while teasingly explaining it away. Encompassing a […]

DON’T TOUCH THE AXE (Jacques Rivette, 2007)

“The Duchess of Langeais is my mistress!”      Armand, the Marquis of Montriveau, is being premature when he announces this in solitude to whatever is keeping score. Indeed, he will never have Antoinette, who is married, and whose future cloistered marriage will be with Jesus Christ. Beginning in 1823, Armand is obsessed; for him, the consummation […]