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Anne Goupil is a literature student in Paris in 1957. Her elder brother, Pierre, takes her to a friend's party where the guests include Philip Kaufman, an expatriate American escaping ... See full summary »
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In Majorca, in 1823, a French general, Armand de Montriveau, overhears a cloistered nun singing in a chapel; he insists on speaking to her. She is Antoinette, for five years he has searched for her. Flash back to their meeting in Paris, he recently returned from Africa, she married and part of the highest society. She flirts with him, and soon he's captivated. His behavior is possessive, insistent. Then, it is her turn to become obsessed. Letters, balls, scandal, a kidnapping, and an ultimatum bring her to the cloister and him to melancholy. Whose steel proved sharper? Is it tragic or grotesque? Written by
Okay, I'll admit it. I've only seen a couple of Jacques Rivette's films apart from this one (Celine & Julie Go Boating & Le Belle Noisettes). I had heard prior to seeing those that Rivette was always one to make it difficult for audiences (timing being one:a standard Rivette film clocks in no less than two and a half hours). 'Ne Touchez Pas La Hache' is a beautifully filmed exercise cinematic narcolepsy. The characters seem to sleepwalk their way throughout this film. A few of the other cinephiles in attendance seemed to get their jollies from this film. To each their own, I say. I guess I should see some more of Rivette's work before I toss in the towel on him (I still prefer Trufaut,or even Goddard,among the French "new wave" directors).
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