The Duchess of Langeais (2007)
Rivette’s death was confirmed in a tweet by French culture minister Fleur Pellerin, who called him “one of the greatest filmmakers of intimacy and impatient love.” The director reportedly had battled Alzheimer’s disease for several years.
Avec Jacques Rivette disparaît l'un des plus grands cinéastes de l'intime et de l'impatience amoureuse. C'est un jour de profonde tristesse.
— Fleur Pellerin (@fleurpellerin) January 29, 2016
In his films, Rivette, perhaps the least known of the major French New Wave directors, frequently took a semi-experimental approach to narrative. The films were partially improvised by the actors, and their prolonged running times allowed auds to wander around freely in their deliberately stagy worlds.
Three-hour-plus titles were the norm for the helmer,
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Perhaps the year’s most intriguing retrospective is “Lynch/Rivette,” and it begins this weekend. Pairing seven films from David Lynch with eight from Jacques Rivette, it seeks to find commonalities between two thoroughly unique film artists. Things begin with Friday’s double-billing of The Duchess of Langeais and Blue Velvet
The Austin Film Society is launching a new series this weekend that arrives in town straight from New York and Los Angeles. "In Case Of No Emergency: The Films Of Ruben Ostlund" aims to turn American audiences on to the work of the Swedish writer/director who earned rave reviews for 2014's Force Majeure. That breakout hit, which was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe, screens tonight at the Marchesa and is followed by Ostlund's 2011 feature Play. The series continues on Sunday afternoon with his 2008 film Involuntary and closes out on Tuesday night with his 2004 debut film The Guitar Mongoloid. All films are screening from 35mm prints except for Force Majeure, which is digital.
On Wednesday night, the Afs Screening Room (1901 E. 51st St.) is hosting a selection of scenes from "Avant Garde Cinema of the 1920s" from the Soviet Union. You'll see work from Pudovkin, Eisenstein,
Frustratingly, the subtitles (produced by a besotted fan) on my copy of this film are too literal or elliptical or something: at any rate, I can't understand anything that's going on, despite a helpful title crawl at the start setting up the plot, and the knowledge that it's based on one of Balzac's stories of the Thirteen, a group of friends who form a secret society to protect each other's interests (Rivette used Balzac's idea obliquely in Out
Luckily, Chicagoans have a great deal of art house venues to choose from, including the Siskel Film Center, which is currently screening the latest work from several of the world’s most fascinating and innovative filmmakers. Here are three highlights fresh off the film center’s calendar that are well worth marking in yours. The first is from one of the great yet under-appreciated founders of the French New Wave, the second is from a filmmaker who emerged during the Hong Kong New Wave, and the third is by a
Top: From Jacques Rivette's The Story of Marie and Julien (2003); featuring Jerzy Radziwilowicz and Emmanuelle Béart; cinematography by William Lubtchansky.
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"I met him only once, in 2001, when he granted me an interview that turned into a long and amicable talk at his home in Paris (concluding with directions to the nearby Poîlane bakery)." The New Yorker's Richard Brody: "[A]rguably, no cinematographer in the history of cinema has photographed a more significant set of movies.... As a cinematographer, Lubtchansky may not have brought about as manifest a technical revolution as did Gregg Toland and Raoul Coutard, but he played a crucial role in the work of the most historically-informed and classical-minded of modernist filmmakers, by infusing traditional cinematic craftsmanship with a decisively modernist spirit.
One of my favorite living film directors is Jacques Rivette. Rivette was once part of the original "French New Wave," a group of film critics for Cahiers du Cinema that decided to turn director and make their own films. The group also included Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol. The other four achieved some measure of fame, but Rivette was always the "outcast" of the group. He was the most "experimental." He completed three "New Wave" style films in the 1960s, the latter of which, L'amour fou (1968), ran over four hours. and followed them with his monumental Out 1 (1971), which ran nearly 13 hours. (The film has rarely been shown, and I keep hoping for a DVD box set someday soon.)
After that came arguably his most beloved film, though
The 37-year-old passed away on Monday at the Garches hospital.
He had been filming new movie L'Enfance d'Icare in Romania when he suddenly fell ill. He was taken to seek medical help at the weekend but died early on Monday.
A spokesperson for Depardieu Sr.'s agency Artmedia says, "He caught a virus which gave him a very severe pneumonia."
Guillaume Depardieu starred in a number of movies, including 1991's Tous les matins du monde, 1993's Cible emouvante, Pola X in 1999, and 2007's Ne touchez pas la hache.
He was a multiple-nominee of the Cesar Awards in France, and in 1996 he won the accolade for Most Promising Actor for his role in Les Apprentis.
But it was Guillaume's reputation as a rebel which attracted the most attention. In 2003, he was handed a nine-month suspended prison sentence and fined $9,000 (GBP4,865) for threatening a man with a gun.
And in June this year, he was jailed for two months for driving under the influence (DUI). In addition, he has been in trouble with police over various drug offences.
He also suffered personal turmoil when he was injured in a severe motorbike accident in 1995, which later resulted in his right leg being amputated in 2003.
He is survived by his six-year-old daughter Louise with his ex-wife Elise Ventre, whom he divorced in 2006.
Based on a novella titled The Duchesse de Langeais by Honore de Balzac, it's the story of a dedicated soldier back from the wars and the socialite lady he loves not wisely but too well.
Handsomely produced and featuring fine performances, the film will travel well to festivals and art houses where audiences respond to classy period pieces with a modern sensibility.
The film begins and ends with encounters taking place several years later than the central events, which are told in flashback. Guillaume Depardieu stars as Napoleonic Gen. Armand de Montriveau who returns to Paris following a time imprisoned by the enemy bearing his wounds and his dignity with equal solemnity. Introduced to the beautiful and mischievous Antoinette de Langeais (Jeanne Balibar) at a fashionable salon, the soldier is instantly captivated.
The lady is also intrigued but such is her taste for coquetry that she makes his seduction a game full of promises and teasing, almost driving him to distraction. Although smitten, de Montriveau comes to the conclusion that he is being played for a fool and determines that turnabout is fair play.
Now it's de Langeais turn to have her emotions toyed with although she continues to give as good as she gets. Rivette takes great care with these scenes, which are filled with subtle by-play and executed with finesse by the two actors.
Cinematographer William Lubtchansky captures beautifully Maira Ramedhan Levy's costumes and Emmanuel de Chauvigny's production design and the rest of the cast serve the story well.
The screenplay by Rivette, Pascal Bonitzer, and Christine Laurent employs several lines taken directly from Balzac, whose wit could be as deft and precise as Oscar Wilde's. The film's title comes from a warning given to de Montriveau at a display of the blade used to execute an English king that serves as a caution about keeping his head. Depardieu and Balibar relish the dialogue and body language of the battling lovers so that their clashes appear to be a tense but rapier-like combination of chess and fencing.
DON'T TOUCH THE AXE (NE TOUCHEZ PAS LA HACHE)
Pierre Grise Prods., Cinemaundici, Arte France Cinema.
Director: Jacques Rivette
Writer: Jacques Rivette, Pascal Bonitzer, Christine Laurent
Producers: Martine Marignac, Maurice Tinchant
Director of photography: William Lubtchansky
Production designer: Emmanuel de Chauvigny
Music: Pierre Allio
Costume designer: Maira Ramedhan Levy
Co-producers: Luigi Musini, Roberto Cicutto, Ermanno Olmi
Editor: Nicole Lubtchansky
Antoinette de Langeais: Jeanne Balibar
Armand de Montriveau: Guillaume Depardieu
Princesse de Blamont-Chauvry: Bulle Ogier
Vidame de Pamiers: Michel Piccoli
Le Duc de Grandlieu: Barbet Schroeder
Clara de Serizy: Anne Cantineau
Julien: Mathias Jung
Lisette: Julie Judd
Running time -- 137 minutes
No MPAA rating
- #77.Ne touchez pas la hache (2007)The Duchess of Langeais
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NEW YORK -- IFC Films has nabbed three features that have North American premieres at next month's Toronto International Film Festival: Harmony Korine's pop-culture fantasia "Mister Lonely", starring Diego Luna and Samantha Morton; Jacques Rivette's French period romance "The Duchess of Langeais", starring Guillaume Depardieu; and, in partnership with Netflix's Red Envelope Entertainment, Christophe Honore's French musical drama "Love Songs".
The art house trio rounds out an impressive seven IFC features on the Toronto slate, including Gus Van Sant's teen drama "Paranoid Park", Cristian Mungiu's Romanian abortion drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days", Hou Hsiao-hsien's fantasy "The Flight of the Red Balloon" and Catherine Breillat's erotic period romance "The Last Mistress".
"Mister Lonely" marks the return of enfant terrible director Korine ("Gummo", "Julien Donkey Boy"). With brother Avi, he wrote the story of a Parisian Michael Jackson impersonator (Luna), guided by a faux Marilyn Monroe (Morton) to an impersonator commune in the Scottish Highlands, where Abe Lincoln, The Three Stooges, the queen, the pope, Madonna and other impostors stage a gala performance.
Francois Ozon's Angel, about the rise and fall of a young author in early 20th century England, will close the 57th Berlinale, providing a suitable bookend to an event that kicks off Feb. 8 with the world premiere of La vie en Rose, from another French director, Olivier Dahan.
The other French films in competition -- Andre Techine's The Witness and Jacques Rivette's Don't Touch The Axe -- also will have their world premieres in Berlin.
Asian cinema, which was largely absent from last year's lineup, returns in force with two Chinese productions -- Wang Quan'an drama Tuya's Marriage and Li Yu's urban portrait Lost In Beijing -- and two from Korea -- Zhang Lu's Desert Dream, about a refugee from North Korea who flees to a barren village on the Chinese/Mongolian border, and I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK, the highly-anticipated new drama from Park Chan-wook (Oldboy).
This year's Berlinale lineup ranges from such independent productions as Ryan Eslinger's When a Man Falls in the Forest to Zack Snyder's epic 300, an adaptation of the Frank Miller comic book about the battle of Thermopylae between 300 Spartans and a Persian army numbering in the millions. Both films will have their world premieres in Berlin, with "300" unspooling out of competition.
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