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Jacques Rivette remains undoubtedly the least well known of all the major figures in French cinema associated with the New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s. This is demonstrated by the fact that, although retrospectives of Rivette's films have been held in London, Paris and New York in recent years, the first book-length monograph on Rivette's work was only published in 2001 and, until now, none has been published in English. In the 1970s, Rivette directed his best loved and most enduring film, the inexhaustible, irrepressible Céline et Julie vont en bateau. This book begins with a consideration of Rivette's work as a film critic. It focuses on the apparently paradoxical nature of much of Rivette's criticism, a quality perhaps best captured in the seemingly opposed universes of two of Rivette's favourite directors: Roberto Rossellini, on the one hand, Fritz Lang, on the other. The existence of conspiratorial organisations is often suggested only to be denied in Rivette's narratives (Paris nous appartient, Out 1, and Le Pont du Nord), but frequently the atmosphere of unease generated by the film's visual and aural register serves to maintain questions and uncertainties in the mind of the spectator. The function and significance of the jeu de l'oie, and its eerie similarity to the map of Rivette's beloved city/labyrinth, have been amply discussed. The book also includes discussions on Rivette's works such as Histoire de Marie et Julien, L'Amour par terre, La Belle Noiseuse, and Secret Défense.

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Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

from her childhood. But family secrets already provide the intrigue in some of Rivette’s 1970s films. In Merry-Go-Round (1978, released 1983), Léo (Maria Schneider) learns that her father’s death in a plane crash may have been faked, whilst in Céline et Julie vont en bateau (1974), the eponymous heroines (Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier) seek to rescue a young child from the family that is plotting her slow death

in Jacques Rivette
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Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

, irrepressible Céline et Julie vont en bateau (1974). Most of the rest of that decade, however, was again given over to financial uncertainty and artistic unpredictability. The darkly mysterious Duelle and Noroît (both 1976) were designed as part of a trilogy, but the third volume, Marie et Julien , was interrupted when Rivette abandoned the set, only to be completed some thirty years later (as Histoire de Marie et Julien

in Jacques Rivette
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Space as story
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

’ 1 (Ogier 1982 : 16). The title of Paris nous appartient speaks for itself; the city remains a persistent presence through the ramifications of Out 1 (1971), parts of Céline et Julie vont en bateau (1974), and Duelle (1976). After le Pont du Nord , the city plays a smaller, but still significant, role in Haut bas fragile (1995), and Va savoir (2001), although its choreographic power is less evident in these

in Jacques Rivette
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The unconsoled in Rivette’s late works
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

realm of the fairy tale (in Frodon 2003 : 17): ‘Histoire de’ might almost be replaced by ‘Légende de’ … In discussing the film, both filmmakers and commentators have cited the work of Jean Cocteau, one of the very few French directors to deal in the fantastic. Meanwhile, Richard Porton, remembering Céline et Julie vont en bateau (1974), has called Histoire de Marie et Julien ‘an almost Jamesian ghost

in Jacques Rivette
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Games and play
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

strongly ludic, Céline et Julie . Céline et Julie vont en bateau (1974) represents the triumph of paedia over ludus , and jouer over le jeu ; not that this triumph is achieved without effort. In the last scene, Céline and Julie, having successfully extracted little Madlyn from the labyrinth of le jeu , are at least temporarily too exhausted to envisage any further ‘playing’, despite Madlyn’s eager

in Jacques Rivette
Guy Austin

protagonists – desiring Roberta and iconic Susan – to that between female spectators and female film stars. The narrative of the film is, she adds, ‘propelled structurally by Roberta’s desire’ (Stacey 1987 : 57). It is interesting to note that in interview (Root 1985 ), Seidelman has acknowledged the debt her own ‘playful feminist’ film owes to Jacques Rivette’s Céline et Julie vont en bateau ( Céline and Julie Go Boating , 1974

in Contemporary French cinema
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

interactive performance space and to use this ideal to reflect on the exclusive nature of cinema, is fundamental to Céline et Julie vont en bateau (1974). The ‘performance’ which Céline and Julie regularly witness – and perforce participate in – in the rooms of the old house is certainly not explicitly either a theatrical performance or a film, even if its characters and topoi allow telling comparisons with both

in Jacques Rivette
Genre and the shock of over-stimulation
Andrew Asibong

of experience so radically subjective as to be qualified as psychotic or fantastical. Ozon’s cinematic dreamscape is no L’Année dernière à Marienbad (Resnais), nor even a Céline et Julie vont en bateau (Rivette): both these films display, despite their playful sheen, an earnest investment in the question of deranged and non-eroticised helplessness that is quite foreign to the impish Ozon. All the

in François Ozon
Celestino Deleyto

Eric Rohmer’s Parisian comedies of manners and Jacques Rivette’s Céline et Julie vont en bateau (1974) – Céline (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) roam around recognisable but not openly touristic Parisian locations, like Rivette’s protagonists (even the actress and the character of Linklater’s movie have the same names as Rivette’s protagonists!). On the other hand it presents itself as the continuation of Linklater

in The secret life of romantic comedy