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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.

Bodies, love and jealousy
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

in taking seriously the theme of jealousy (Breton 2001 ). In doing so, Rivette shows that the romantic triangle is often too simplistic, that the dynamics of love and jealousy frequently involve a more complex and unstable geometry. Thus, in L’Amour fou , the love triangle is not a triangle, since Claire (Bulle Ogier)’s rival is never identified for certain; in L’Amour par terre (1984), the circuits of jealousy connect

in Jacques Rivette
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Space as story
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

films. It serves, besides, as a background presence, encircling the more bounded spaces where the action takes place, in several films which explore it very little: and indeed the ‘house within the city’, a small labyrinth within a greater one, is itself a classic Rivettian structure, prominent for example in Céline et Julie (1974), L’Amour par terre (1984), Haut bas fragile (1995) and Rivette’s two most recent

in Jacques Rivette
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Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

1  The entry ritual: the approach ( Céline et Julie , 1974) 2  The entry ritual: opening the gate ( Haut bas fragile , 1995) 3  The entry ritual: coming through the wood ( L’Amour

in Jacques Rivette
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Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

half of his career tells a very different story. Since the mid-1980s, Rivette has worked with a regular team of collaborators and succeeded in producing a film every two or three years with remarkable consistency both in style and in quality. Since Le Pont du Nord , all of Rivette’s films have been produced by Martine Marignac. Since L’Amour par terre (1984), all have been co-written with Pascal Bonitzer and, since La

in Jacques Rivette
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

, those films in which characters are involved explicitly with theatre as a major part of the narrative process ( Paris nous appartient, L’Amour fou, Out 1 (both versions), L’Amour par terre, La Bande des quatre, Va savoir ); on the other, those in which theatre and organised performance do not form part of a narrative which is, at least formally, conceived as unfolding in an unbounded ‘real’ world ( Le Coup du berger, La

in Jacques Rivette