Family secrets
in Jacques Rivette
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The study of secret societies and other such conspiratorial communities may have something to tell us about the nature of community itself. The community was traditionally organised around a sacred centre, the site of both strict prohibition and devout veneration. The narrative of Secret Défense is based around a series of crimes in which the murderer or the victim takes the place of someone else. Perhaps one of the finest cinematic illustrations of this belief in the productive power of desire is to be found in another of Rivette's films that deals with a family secret, Céline et Julie vont en bateau. Family secrets already provide the intrigue in some of Rivette's 1970s films. In Merry-Go-Round, Léo learns that her father's death may have been faked, whilst in Céline et Julie vont en bateau, the eponymous heroines seek to rescue a young child from the family.


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