In Paris, the pedantic Alexandre lives with his mate Marie in her apartment, an open relationship. Alexandre, who is idle and chauvinist, spends his days reading, drinking and shagging ... See full summary »
Most of the actors that appear in the movie are villagers without acting experience, from the same region were the actual events happened, except from the judges and doctors; the director did this in order to preserve that idea on how the villagers didn't have any education and were isolated from the society back then. See more »
Daring mix of history, ethnography, and a murder mystery
Based on documents compiled by Michel Foucault, this film is a uniquely original meditation on a gruesome 19th century crime. The story happens in a Normandy village in 1835, as a very young man, Rivière, murders his mother, sister and brother before running away in the countryside. This matricide and the trial that followed are narrated by several voices over, which allow to "absorb" the violence and to understand the psychological background of the criminal. The written confession of Rivière himself becomes one of the voices, which gives away one aspect of the truth. Rivière was convinced that his mother was weakening and humiliating his father and his words on this subject are deeply disturbing.
The cast, mostly villagers found in the places where the events had taken place 150 years before and reenacting the gestures of their ancestors, is quite static but creates an interesting atmosphere of hyper-realism. Thanks to them and to the careful narration, René Allio accomplishes the unique feat to offer at the same time an (almost) ethnographic document, an historical film, and an inquiry into a psychopathologic case. His approach may seem naive at times, but the film is overall a winning affair, and is widely different from any other period picture set in similar time and place.
Highlights of Moi, Pierre Rivière are the striking first sequence, where we discover with a slow pan the bodies of the family and the first interrogation of the stunned murderer. The cinematography, by Nurith Aviv, is exemplary, and Allio appears here as one of the most daring and interesting filmmaker of the seventies.
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