Jacques Rivette

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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