In the labyrinth
Narrative, conspiracy, community
in Jacques Rivette
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In making narratives about narratives and films about the process of their own fabrication, Rivette demonstrates his affinity with the experimental textual practice of a number of twentieth-century literary figures. Paris nous appartient may be related to the French literary movement of the Nouveau Roman, roughly contemporary to the New Wave in French cinema. Given the presence, in Paris nous appartient, of an incomprehensible and seemingly limitless conspiracy that exerts an obscure but total control over the lives of the film's characters, a number of commentators have also remarked upon similarities to the writings of Franz Kafka whose novels depict individuals lost in the labyrinthine bureaucracy of unfathomable organisations. In his discussion of elective communities, Georges Bataille expressed his preference for what he called 'existential' societies. The secret society provides a kind of 'pure' experience of community so long as it does nothing but circumscribe its membership.


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