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André S. Labarthe
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Julien lives alone with his cat. He dreams of Marie, and a few minutes later, he sees her on the street and makes a date. He asks her to move in with him, and she does. Her boyfriend is dead, the rest of her past a mystery. Although they quickly seem to fall in love, she sometimes pulls away suddenly from Julien, is distant, and spends the night in a hotel. She also dreads something imminent and warns Julien that if he missteps, he will lose her and all memory of her. Julien responds by digging into her past: what explains her remodeling an upstairs garret room, her nightly dreams, her fears? What can Julien, now desperately in love, do when he learns why? Can either rescue the other? Written by
Perhaps a few of the above comments mights be useful if they were sure to not do these two things:
1.Admit up front that the only reason you attended a screening was because you always wanted to be seen at a film festival and because you happen to have a thing for an actress (what does her attire at the festival have to do with the film at all?)
2.Admit that you didn't even make the effort to sit through the entire film.
By doing these two things you immediately discredit yourself as a critic (casual or professional, it does not matter) and as a serious movie goer. Why don't you save such trivial opinions for Spielberg and Cameron movies, where people might care? When viewing a film from a director with Rivette's past, one can't expect light fair at a lightening pace. I suppose you expect an action film from Godard or Tarkovsky too? I will myself admit that it was not a fantastic film, but the reasons for which these others so unjustly scrutinize the film are the exact reasons that make it interesting. I personally could have watched Julien toy with his clocks and his cat "Nevermore" and Marie 'set up house' the entire two and a half hours. The territory that this film explores is the relationship between two individuals and how their own consciousness relates to the cinematic narrative through these relationships. Granted this topic of "the abyss" between two lovers or siblings is common fair in high-culture drama, yet it becomes nonetheless intriguing for the patient spectator in that it eventually dives into the terrain of low-culture genre film. The subject chosen by M. Rivette is expertly relayed through painstaking detail and precision, something absolutely necessary to it, and something that can only be accomplished after a lifelong devotion to the cinematic medium. If he had done this movie 30 years ago when he first started filming it, before giving it up until now--thats right folks and mindless commentators, 25 years before the movies its said to have ripped off--I'm not sure he would have created a similar film, one infused with a comparable, patient interrogation of human relationships and suffused with the same amount of warm compassion and empathy for his characters.
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