Not many films this week:
(Jacques Rivette, F 1976)
One of the strangest items I´ve ever seen: the second (chronologically third) film of Rivette´s unfinished cycle La filles de feu
. Geraldine Chaplin and Bernadette Lafonte in a timeless Pirate intrigue (historical clothes & motor-boats), mixing text from Tourneur´s "Revenger´s Tragedy", dance improvisation, eerily unbalanced, yet beautiful mise-en-scène (Moonfleet
being a crucial reference point) and almost irrational psychodrama. "The film seems contrived to confound conventional emotional reactions of any sort", opines Jonathan Rosenbaum in baffled, frightened enthusiasm, adding "this monstrous work deserves to be seen as a uniquely disquieting experience", but I found it a lot more accessible than Duelle
, even though - or, more precisely: because - its alienation effects are far more pronounced. (What with the showdown inexplicably interweaving "normal" footage with garishly monochrome red filter effects and sudden leaps into silent, handheld b/w.) The result, while still distancing, has the quality of a riddle written down in a fever. Retrospectively this and Duelle
- with their complete obliteration, or rather: ignorance of genre trappings, dispassionate worldview and desparate art mysticism - seem the epitaph of the Nouvelle Vague, much more so than The Mother and the Whore
(Rivette, F 79/83)
Weird, disconnected, nervous pretense with just a whiff of real life, this is my least favourite Rivette so far: the international cast (Joe Dallesandro, hot and on a binge; Maria Schneider, considerably less uncontrolled and thus rather uninteresting) with its unbridled "acting" makes this an overlong essay on movie actors. Possibly looks even lesser today than back then because it prefigures the Rivette of the next decades: the arid, sunlit, cool cottages, the family plot of Secret Defense
, the dry, Langian turn of events near the end. While Rivette´s films often don´t cohere, they posess a sense of mystery this one lacks, even if each scene radiates a vaguely interesting aura.
L´Amour par terre
aka Love on the Ground
(Rivette, F 84)
A much funnier summation of Rivette obsessions, this one pits Geraldine Chaplin, Jane Birkin, Facundo Bo and André Dussolier in a film-as-theatre-as-life-as-film contraption, spiced up by Borgesian labyrinths, intricate shadowplay and amused-neurotic banter. Minor Rivette, a bit sluggish in places, but fun.
I am From Nowhere
(Georg Misch, Austria/Germany/England 02)
Ok, I got paid to write a text for the pressbook, but this umpteenth doc on Andy Warhol´s birthplace really covers new territory: Focussing on the oversized ambitions of its inhabitants, it projects a 150-soul-dullsville as global village, contrasting two seemingly different worlds (a postcommunist nowhere stuck in time and modern capitalism) to reveal the same (ir)rationalities behind them, additionally via Warhol and clever use of media it´s a reflection on the generation of collective myths. Will be screened in the video competition in Locarno.
(John Frankenheimer, 1966)
Finally find time to rewatch this one (looks leaner, more purposeful, the remembered moralism in the second half undercut by nihilistic notions about corporate control) at 4 o´clock in the morning to prepare for the Frankenheimer obit; turns out I get just enogh space to squeeze in a bit about The Manchurian Candidate
and biographical-stylistic key data. Didn´t regret, anyway: cool, nervous, intelligent mid-60s pop with one of the more amazing DP jobs from James Wong Howe. Billy was right: John Randolph acts better than Rock Hudson, but Frankenheimer´s use of Hudson as a representational image is amazing.