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

climax of Ne touchez pas la hache is, in its way, uncannily similar to Paris nous appartient (1961). Rivette’s cinema is full of such missed opportunities, of emotions and attachments that have seen their chance pass by and are cut adrift in various kinds of limbo. Anne and Gérard’s inability to recognise the other’s love in time. Sébastien and Claire’s mutual destruction of their relationship through failed

in Jacques Rivette
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Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

also suggest a rough progression through Rivette’s œuvre , the earlier chapters referring at more length to the early films ( Paris nous appartient , Out 1 , Céline et Julie etc.) while the later chapters give more space to the 1980s and beyond ( L’Amour par terre , La Belle Noiseuse (1991), Secret Défense (1998) and so on). Our book begins with a consideration of Rivette’s work as a film critic

in Jacques Rivette
Michael Leonard

contreplongée gravis par cinq garçons dans un plan mobile qui en est le second, le film de 2005 cite le sixième plan de La Maman et la putain , lorsque Léaud descend en solo de semblables marches’ 10 (Grand 2006 : 76). In this visual echo Garrel displays an affinity with Eustache’s film; however, as with the treatment of the Seine the allusions and citations in the work are multiple and find echoes in a number of other films, including the recurrence of staircases in Paris nous appartient (1961). It also looks back to Garrel’s second feature film, Le Révélateur ( 1968

in Philippe Garrel
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Space as story
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

Rien n’aurait eu lieu que le lieu. (Mallarmé) The above quote was marshalled by Rivette in the course of interviews when Paris nous appartient came out, and it is a fitting introduction to an intense, but paradoxical and playful, relation to place – and to non-place, and to space – which marks his entire film output. The geography of Rivette’s films, carefully programmed and

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
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Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

In an earlier chapter we looked at films about conspiracies and communities (conspiracies as communities: as Hélène Frappat points out, a conspiracy is a collective fabrication – it doesn’t exist until it is discussed (Frappat 2001: 191)) that are organised around a secret: the community of artists, intellectuals and exiles in Paris nous appartient (1961) gravitating around a secret organisation

in Jacques Rivette
The film criticism of Jacques Rivette
Douglas Morrey and Alison Smith

describing his own cinema to come: the preference for long takes and the ordeal of duration, the physicality of his work with actors, the coherence of the œuvre from one work to the next ... The article was written in June 1958; one month later, Rivette began shooting Paris nous appartient .) Rivette, we have seen, is, on the one hand, a tireless exponent of realism, repeating the need for the cinema to deliver up the

in Jacques Rivette
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Les Amants du Pont-Neuf and the spectacle of vagrancy
Fergus Daly and Garin Dowd

have treated Paris as a playground, among them Rivette ( Paris nous appartient (1959), Godard ( A bout de souffle ), Varda ( Cléo de 5 à 7 ), to which list can be added Rivette’s Pont du nord (1980) and several films made after the publication of the essays in question, among them Rivette’s Haut bas fragile (1995) and Va Savoir (2000), and Assayas’s Irma Vep (1995). See Reader ( 1984 ) and

in Leos Carax