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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:14 pm 
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Co-sign with shrew. Easily Rivette at his most digestible.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:46 pm 
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knives wrote:
Co-sign with shrew. Easily Rivette at his most digestible.

I think Pont du Nord and Joan the Maid more "digestible". But compared to Out 1, Duelle, Noroit, Merry Go Round and L'amour fou, Celine and Julie is pretty easy to handle. ;-)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:33 pm 
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I haven't seen Joan, but with Pont, while I think it is probably a better film I'm not entirely sure if it is as immediately approachable and pleasant. Though it definitely comes close.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:48 am 

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Would you consider Paris Nous Appartient pleasant? Why are Duelle etc considered hard films by Rivette? If only his films weren't just 3+ hours I'd be quicker to go through them


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:50 am 
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I like (or love) almost everything by Rivette -- so maybe my opinion isn't all that helpful. ;-)

I wouldn't call Paris especially "pleasant" -- but it is quite interesting (and a wonderful depiction of long ago Paris in b&w). I see it as having close kinship to the contemporary works of P K Dick (which Rivette would have read -- but how much he may have seen when this film was made is unclear -- and no one seems to have asked him about this).

I don't look for comprehensible plots when it comes to Rivette. I strongly recommend Story of Marie and Julien -- almost surely his sweetest-natured film (and one of his most visually pleasing).


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:56 am 
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dda1996a wrote:
Would you consider Paris Nous Appartient pleasant? Why are Duelle etc considered hard films by Rivette? If only his films weren't just 3+ hours I'd be quicker to go through them


As one of the more novice cinemaphiles here, who was introduced to Rivette through recent blu-rays, I think there's just nothing quite like him! One can read a description of what his films are "about" and the themes they play with, but they don't quite prepare you for what you are watching. The films are adventures full of characters, puzzles, and mazes, but Rivette's depiction of those things is nothing like I've seen anywhere else, even amongst his peers in the French New Wave. There is a mindset to get in when watching a Rivette film, and that's what makes them "difficult", not the length.

Just my two cents.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:16 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am
Which is what always interested me in him; as I noted above I adore Lynch, Borges Pynchon and the likes. I just sometimes find that the interesting parts of his films contend with lesser, not as interesting parts (I can say yet if these always involve theatrical productions). Which is why I enormously enjoyed Nous Appartient, and modernly enjoyed Va Savoir (in that film, search for lost play and the young blonde is ace, actual production less so).
I meant the length prohibiting only in that I'm not always in the middle for a 3 hour film. I never let length be a factor, but I don't rush to watch three hour films every day.
From the Rivette box, which should I start with then? Noroit, Merry or Duelle?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:24 am 
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All are difficult in their own way. Duelle is the most obviously Rivettian, if it makes any sense to say that – so perhaps start with that one? Otherwise, Merry-Go-Round is fun but feels unfinished, and Noroit is just ... weird.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:44 am 
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furbicide wrote:
All are difficult in their own way. Duelle is the most obviously Rivettian, if it makes any sense to say that – so perhaps start with that one? Otherwise, Merry-Go-Round is fun but feels unfinished, and Noroit is just ... weird.

Seconded.

I would also recommend Secret defense (translation is something like Top Secret) and Gang of Four -- if they are still findable.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:55 am 
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Drucker wrote:
There is a mindset to get in when watching a Rivette film, and that's what makes them "difficult", not the length.

I like this observation a lot. I remember a similar conversation about "difficulty" came up in the Arrow thread and I continue to have a hard time understanding Rivette as "difficult."

Indeed, what does it mean to say that a film or filmmaker is difficult? Perhaps films that are so densely allusive that they require a good deal of "outside" knowledge before viewing? Rivette is nothing like this, though. While there are allusions to film genres or even specific filmmakers, these are just fun little extras that are by no means required in order to enjoy the films. There is nothing to "get" in Rivette; everything is pretty much on the surface. The pleasure of Rivette is in the experience: the surrender to the flow of his wacky narratives and characters.

It seems to me that the discourse of difficulty presumes an idea of mastery. Certain films are easy to master while others are more difficult. This also implies a centralized meaning that it is the task of the viewer to reveal. Ironically, Rivette's narratives allegorize this kind of hermeneutic with their various conspiracies. Rivettes's films are, at the level of surface content, rejections of precisely the search for meaning that I think undergirds the entire discourse of difficulty!

So, to return to Drucker's quite incisive observation above, I would argue that one's enjoyment of Rivette is in large part determined by whether or not one thinks about film in terms of "uncovering a meaning" or in terms of an experience. The latter is the mindset that Rivette requires.

I think it is important that this not be misunderstood as a kind of elitism, either, as through only a "select few" are worthy of Rivette. That is nonsense. Another thing the discourse of difficulty does is to make cinephilia into a kind of video game: level 1 is contemporary Hollywood, level 2 is Kubrick and Scorsese, level 3 is Truffaut and Kurosawa, and then eventually you can "beat" enough of the levels to reach the heights of Rivette, Akerman, and Straub/Huillet. The result is that people want to prove their high level by making sure they like all the appropriate filmmakers. Worse, people who don't like Rivette get defensive, as if they think their cinephilia is being called into question. This is all absurd, of course, but I sense this subtext in conversations about difficulty.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:17 pm 
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I find that I respond to most of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's best work in much the same way I respond to Rivette. Don't worry about "meaning" -- just go along with the flow. ;-)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:21 pm 
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Related to getting into the right mind-set for Rivette, I often think of what Francisco Valente wrote in the MoC Le Pont du Nord booklet essay:
Quote:
Watching a Rivette film is like going for a walk in your city and not knowing what will happen and whom you will meet. Or rather, like those rare, beautiful days when you come home and feel that you never could have planned what you just went through. That is, a mixture of chance, improvisation, and quick but thoughtfully planned decisions exclusively based on your wildest desires and curiosity.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:14 pm 

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I think difficult films for me are split into two-
Simply tough films to watch i.e Haneke, Irreversible, Bergman
And films that are obtuse and complex and usually also slow like Tarkovsky, Dreyer and Tarr.
I like all these that I listed, but I never considered Rivette difficult. My questions were simply because unlike some other Directors, I felt that personally starting with Out 1 was a mistake, whereas starting with something like Paris Nous Appartient or Va Savoir introduces his type of film while being more approachable (2 hours v 12 hours).
I'm though interested if Huliet and Straub are actually worth exploring. Watched three of their short films and found nothing except a theoretical hypothesis that wasn't cinematically interesting. Just filming actors speak out lines from a book doesn't interest me. But I'll give three of their longer films a chance.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:19 pm 
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Definitely don't give up on them until you see Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:46 pm 
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Not Reconciled and Class Relations are also amazing – the former in particular is much more formally dynamic than some of their other work.

Back to Rivette, I wouldn't necessarily say that all of his films are 'difficult' – apart from the slightly forbidding running times, anyone can get into, for instance, Celine and Julie Go Boating or La Belle Noiseuse, and even Out 1 is perfectly accessible if you stick with it; the same goes for most of his '80s films. I do find his late '70s work difficult, though, just because it can feel so all-over-the-place at times, which isn't always endearing! Where 'difficult' Rivette meets 'great' Rivette, though, I think, is L'Amour Fou – a film that viewers not already acquainted with his style will, I expect, find very challenging, but a work that nonetheless ultimately feels satisfying and coherent (to me, at least, anyway). That's a DVD release that's well overdue.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:16 pm 
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Moses and Aaron is also great. I don't know what titles you are referring to, but it sounds like you've seen Straub's recent films after her death which are fairly different from the earlier films.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:58 am 

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For the film specifically relating to my criticism was Jackals and Arabs, but I also glimpsed at Othon and another, newer short and they seemed mostly the same. Now I get from those few minutes of Othon was their aim is, but I'm not sure how much patience I'll have to watch a bunch of actors delivering lines to the camera, no matter if their lines and dress are purposely at odds with their environment.
I mean I'm going to try it as I said, and maybe the film will have more. But based on that short and those glimpses that was the impression I got, hence my question


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:15 am 
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In that case you definitely haven't seen much variation of their work (and for the most part only Straub's contributions). En rachâchant is a good short to look out for if you want some differentiation.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:17 pm 
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Satori wrote:
Drucker wrote:
There is a mindset to get in when watching a Rivette film, and that's what makes them "difficult", not the length.


I think it is important that this not be misunderstood as a kind of elitism, either, as through only a "select few" are worthy of Rivette. That is nonsense. Another thing the discourse of difficulty does is to make cinephilia into a kind of video game: level 1 is contemporary Hollywood, level 2 is Kubrick and Scorsese, level 3 is Truffaut and Kurosawa, and then eventually you can "beat" enough of the levels to reach the heights of Rivette, Akerman, and Straub/Huillet. The result is that people want to prove their high level by making sure they like all the appropriate filmmakers. Worse, people who don't like Rivette get defensive, as if they think their cinephilia is being called into question. This is all absurd, of course, but I sense this subtext in conversations about difficulty.


My personal journey through films has been akin to something like this. Less like a video game and more like learning courses, eg algebra I-III. I think there is a desire to sort of stand up on a hill and say, “Kurosawa? Noob” but honestly I’ve never seen that on this board. I could be missing it.

The other thing I wanted to comment, I watched this disc the other night. It was my first time seeing the film. I enjoyed it and the more I think about it the more I think fondly of it. I have a question though, there are a few scenes where there’s a quick fade to black and then a quick return to normal. Is this part of the film or something on the disc?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:03 pm 
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Part of the film, not a disc defect...


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:33 pm 
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Michael Kerpan wrote:
Part of the film, not a disc defect...


Did I completely miss something by thinking this might’ve been an error?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:39 pm 
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I never really tried very hard to assign any significance to things like this in Rivette's films. ;-)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:23 am 
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Rivette frequently uses the quick cut to black both as transitions between scenes and, as memory serves, even within scenes. When I first watched The Nun a couple weeks back, I was very relieved at the first example of this; it really is a Rivette film!

I think he sometimes does it to break up two different takes of the same shot, and sometimes he just does it as a brief ellipsis.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:02 am 
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Most importantly, I think, it gives the film rhythm – kind of like punctuation in text. This technique is also present in early Wenders, Akerman and Jarmusch; perhaps not coincidentally, I love all of those films!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:45 am 
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New Blu-Ray of C&J arrived today (just before tomorrow's blizzard). Only managed to watch half of this tonight, but can confirm that this looks pretty lovely.


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