The important French New Wave director Jacques Rivette passed away yesterday at the age of 87.
I felt a slight regret that I've never seen more of his films. Yet I remember very well the first. The very first Rivette film I saw would turn out to be his last, AROUND A SMALL MOUNTAIN. Caught this at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2009. It was a rather peculiar experience. Many of the film is set in a circus, where occasionally the line between reality and fiction is blurred, the theatricality of life is mirrored by the performances in the circus. I was a little confounded.
After that film I wanted to find out more about his previous films, and I was recommended two films that were considered his masterpieces. 3-hour CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING and the 12 1/2-hour long (!!) OUT 1 (Out 1, noli me tangere). I got hold of these films a few years ago, saw half of CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING, but didn't start with the latter. Perhaps I was intimidated by the length then, even though that was the particular period of time when I indulged myself in some of the longer films in history, like Bela Tarr's SATANTANGO, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ and a few of Theo Angelopoulos' earlier works. Committing to these long films can be a rather unique experience, like locking yourself in a room to binge-read a novel. You find yourself following not just the plot and characters, but immersing yourself completely in the world that was constructed, its particularly rhythm, and replaying earlier moments of the film in your mind which felt like an eternity ago.