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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

, 2003). Merry-Go-Round , filmed in 1977 was not released until 1983 and, for the filming of Le Pont du Nord (1982), Rivette had to invent a claustrophobic character unable to be shut indoors, since he had neither the money nor the authorisation to film interiors. If the foregoing presents Rivette in the traditional role of the accursed artist, condemned to struggle against material poverty and public indifference, the latter

in Jacques Rivette
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Narrative, conspiracy, community
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

Narrative and conspiracy: Paris nous appartient and Le Pont du Nord The complex narrative of Paris nous appartient (1961) revolves around a shadowy conspiracy. A young student, Anne Goupil (Betty Schneider), is introduced by her brother Pierre (François Maistre) to a group of enigmatic friends including the theatre director Gérard Lenz (Giani Esposito), the American exile

in Jacques Rivette
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Space as story
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

’? Paris is one of Rivette’s most quintessential settings, present throughout his work, although its fascination is most evident in the films of the early part of his career, culminating in the comprehensive remapping of the city undertaken in Le Pont du Nord in 1981. Bulle Ogier observed at the time when this last film appeared that ‘Paris est un acteur et, chaque décennie, Jacques se propose de l’introduire dans une fiction

in Jacques Rivette
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Games and play
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

seeking definitions where there may, in fact, be only lines of tension. The porous border between play and non-play has always been a fertile locus of narrative, and it is one which Rivette explores both within his films – notably in Le Pont du Nord (1982), one of the most exemplary formulations of the problems of jeu – and in his filmic practice itself. The other vital line of tension which Caillois locates in his

in Jacques Rivette
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Derek Schilling

was virtually alone among his coterie of onetime Cahiers critics in making works consonant with New Wave ideals. The rough-edged location shooting of La Femme de l’aviateur (1981) and the improvisations of Le Rayon vert (1986), each produced on a shoestring in 16mm, attest to the do-it-yourself spirit that perhaps only Rivette, in Le Pont du Nord (1980), and Jacques Rozier, in his Maine Océan (1986), had managed to

in Eric Rohmer
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

artifice’ in which every word and gesture is reflective , and even if the action moves freely through very real places, nothing is ‘natural’. This is characteristic of the films of the later 1970s and very early 1980s ( Céline et Julie , Noroît, Duelle, Le Pont du Nord or Merry-Go-Round , to which Haut bas fragile (1995) might be added): but it might equally well be said of Out 1 or L’Amour par terre if they did not, at

in Jacques Rivette