Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Thanks to Chayanin for telling us about this.

7 กรกฎาคม (พฤหัส)
1300 - Bad Bank (Hungary, Csaba Káel, 2002)
1510 - Erratum (Poland, Marek Lechki, 2010)
1655 - Camino (Spain, Javier Fesser, 2008)
1920 - The Escape (Denmark, Kathrine Windfeld, 2009)

8 กรกฎาคม (ศุกร์)
1400 - With Friends Like These (Belgium, Felix Van Groeningen, 2007)
1550 - Above the Street, Below the Water (Denmark, Charlotte Sieling, 2009)
1740 - The Last Pulcinella (Italy, Maurizio Scaparro, 2008)
1920 - When We Leave (Germany, Feo Aladag, 2010)

9 กรกฎาคม (เสาร์)
1130 - Kooky (Czech Republic, Jan Sverák, 2010)
1315 - Weekend with My Mother (Romania, Stere Gulea, 2009)
1610 - The Hell of '63 (Netherlands, Steven de Jong, 2009)
1810 - Camino

10 กรกฎาคม (อาทิตย์)
1130 - The Magic Tree (Poland, Andrzej Maleszka, 2009)
1310 - The Escape
1515 - With Friends Like These
1705 - Bad Bank
1910 - The 1000 Euros Generation (Italy, Massimo Venier, 2009)

11 กรกฎาคม (จันทร์)
- หอศิลป์ปิด -

12 กรกฎาคม (อังคาร)
1500 - The Paper Will Be Blue (Romania, Radu Muntean, 2006)
1645 - The Hell of '63
1845 - Run If You Can (Germany, Dietrich Brüggemann, 2010)

13 กรกฎาคม (พุธ)
1400 - The 1000 Euros Generation
1540 - Celda 211 (Spain/France, Daniel Monzón, 2009)
1715 - An Ordinary Execution (France, Marc Dugain, 2010)
1910 - Above the Street, Below the Water

14 กรกฎาคม (พฤหัส)
1400 - The Wedding Photographer (Sweden, Ulf Malmros, 2009)
1600 - Dust (Austria/Luxembourg, Max Jacoby, 2009)
1745 - Erratum
1930 - Exit Through the Gift Shop (USA/UK, Banksy, 2010)

15 กรกฎาคม (ศุกร์)
1400 - The Last Pulcinella
1540 - The Paper Will Be Blue
1725 - Celda 211
1930 - Weekend with My Mother

16 กรกฎาคม (เสาร์)
1100 - The Magic Tree
1240 - Dust
1420 - An Ordinary Execution
1615 - Run If You Can
1925 - Exit Through the Gift Shop

17 กรกฎาคม (อาทิตย์)
1100 - Kooky
1245 - The Wedding Photographer
1445 - When We Leave
1730 - Forbidden Fruit (Finland/Sweden, Dome Karukoski, 2009)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Day 5: The best movie from your favorite filmmaker:

DYING AT A HOSPITAL (1993, Jun Ichikawa). The film observes old people waiting for death at a hospital. Their scenes are interrupted from time to time by scenes of young people walking in the streets. The film made me cry a lot.


Day 4: Most overrated filmmaker of all time:

I can't answer this question. But if the question is "Name a very famous filmmaker whose films you have some personal problems with", I may answer Yasujiro Ozu. I have seen only 4 of his films. I admire his style or his aesthetics very much. But most of the family relationships portrayed in his films make me feel "very distant" from the film. I admire his films a lot, but I can neither say that "I personally like them" nor say that "they touch my heart". In conclusion, Yasujiro Ozu is not overrated at all. I'm sure I will completely change my mind about him after I see more of his films.

FAVORITE OLD SONGS 115: BILITIS (1976) -- Francis Lai


Thanks to Graiwoot for telling us about this song.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I noticed this morning that I had a suspicious red spot in the lower eyelid of my right eye. So I went to a hospital this afternoon. The doctor told me that one possible cause of this red spot is that I might have blinked my eyes too few times. This made my eyes become too dry, so my eyes could be irritated or infected easily, and the red spot was developed because of that. The doctor gave me some eyedrops and said that the red spot would fade within a week.

I think it is highly likely that I might have blinked my eyes too few times like the doctor said. Why did I blink my eyes too few times? It is because I saw OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE (1972, Jacques Rivette, 12 hours 40 minutes, A+++++++++++++++) on Saturday and Sunday. Rivette's film is too riveting that I couldn't take my eyes from the screen. :-)

NATTO (2010, Pat Boonnitipat, A++++++++++)

You can watch this film here

Thanks to Ratchapoom for telling me about the online availability of this film.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Day 3: Most underrated filmmaker of all time – Herbert Achternbusch, whom I think is one of my most favorite underrated filmmakers. His films are very funny and weird, and have the extreme power of insanity which reminds me a little bit of Werner Herzog's and Christoph Schlingensief's films. His masterpieces are THE LAST HOLE (1981) and HEAL HITLER! (1986).

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I talked with Pathompong Manakitsomboon today about old films. It reminds me of what Alexander Kluge talked about some very interesting films made before 1907.

Here is an interview with Alexander Kluge in Bomb Magazine in 1989:

" You can repeat everything in history in a slow-motion alternative. This is what Walter Benjamin means, to repeat everything that’s happened, without producing the same result. The time-producing aspect of film is hidden in pre-Hollywood American films before 1907: in illustrated songs, vaudeville, tableaux cinema—which is extremely interesting, a cinema that only treats subjects the audience already knows like Uncle Tom, Caesar’s death, and soon. It’s rather epic, concentrating on one motion, one moment of a complete story. Robinson Crusoe on the day he met Friday, his first slave. Not the whole story, but just this moment. Everyone could add the rest of the story. It’s very modern.

The tableaux film existed for half a year, let’s say, when commercial film producers thought they could rationalize it, make it better for the audience by filling out the story, and then it died. The next type, the nickelodeon, also died. Then came the normal commercial cinema. But hidden in primitive diversity of pre-commercial cinema (but it was also paid for, of course), there are possibilities that could be repeated with the means of the ‘80s, and with much more time. This would be the next step of New German Cinema, the idea of myself and my friends. To repeat everything with more patience, better means, more time. It could be the same with music. Modern music must not be divided front the audience. Cinema, in alliance with the best parts of classical music, the best parts of literature, could invent new forms."


Favorite quote from Primo Levi:

"In order for the wheel to turn, for life to be lived, impurities are needed, and the impurities of impurities in the soil, too, as is known, if it is to be fertile. Dissension, diversity, the grain of salt and mustard are needed: Fascism does not want them, forbids them, and that's why you're not a Fascist; it wants everybody to be the same, and you are not. But immaculate virtue does not exist either, or if it exists it is detestable."


Day 2: Your favorite closing scene: RENÉ BOUSQUET OU LE GRAND ARRANGEMENT (2006, Laurent Heynemann, France).

There's a very dramatic event happening at the end of the story in this film. But we don't see it. We only know about it from the voiceover. What we see is very undramatic. We only see a female character (Ludmila Mikaël) walking to sit in a bench near a river. Her voiceover tells us that she wants to kill a specific person. Then she quotes a sentence from Primo Levi about the Holocaust: " It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere." ". All of this made me cry uncontrollably.


OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE (1971, Jacques Rivette, 12 hours 40 minutes), starring Bulle Ogier, will be screened on 25-26 June at the Reading Room in Bangkok. You can read the details of the screening here:

This is my favorite quote of Jacques Rivette, from his interview by Carlos Clarens and Edgardo Cozarinsky in 1974:

"I have been going in this direction for three films now, in L'Amour Fou more than in Celine et Julie, and in Out 1 most of all. I hate to have the feeling, either during the shooting or the editing, that everything is fixed and nothing can be changed. I reject the word 'script' entirely -- at any rate in the usual sense. I prefer the old usage -- usually scenario -- which it had in the Commedia dell'Arte, meaning an outline or scheme: it implies a dynamism, a number of ideas and principles from which one can set out to find the best possible approach to the filming. I now prefer my shooting schedules to be as short as possible, and the editing to last as long as possible."


OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE (1971, Jacques Rivette, 12 hours 40 minutes), starring Bulle Ogier, will be screened on 25-26 June at the Reading Room in Bangkok. You can read the details of the screening here:

Here is what I wrote about Bulle Ogier in Senses of Cinema in 2002:

A memorable scene in Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974), itself a very memorable movie, is when Camille (Bulle Ogier) descends the staircase. Enigmatic, elegant, and indescribable. Though the scene is repeated many times, it hardly becomes boring or tiresome but instead generates rapture. One wishes one could go back to the haunted house everyday just to watch Ogier descend the stairway. Ogier’s unique talent makes her indescribable. Her choice of roles are varied. While she might be the most elegant in Celine and Julie Go Boating, she is the least elegant in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972) compared to Delphine Seyrig and Stéphane Audran. But one thing remains the same for Ogier. Whenever she appears in a movie starring many other talented actresses, she is never overpowered by them nor does she overpower them alone. Just watch her with Nathalie Baye, Audrey Tautou, and Mathilde Seigner in Venus Beauty (Vénus beauté, Tonie Marshall, 1998), or with Hanna Schygulla and Margit Carstensen in The Third Generation (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1979), and you will understand. Ogier excels in playing characters who are different from the main group of characters; that’s not to say that they’re outsiders or alienated, however, just different. Sometimes her characters are superior to the other characters; sometimes hers is the one who holds the main secret of the story, as in Au coeur du mensonge (Claude Chabrol, 1999) or Gang of Four (Jacques Rivette, 1988).

There’s something ambiguous and mysterious about Ogier that makes her an essential part in films dealing with ‘secrets’, and that might explain why her best performances are the ones directed by Rivette. Maybe it is her ambiguity that made Fassbinder cast her as a high-school teacher/terrorist in The Third Generation. And it certainly is her ambiguity, or the indefinite expression on her face, that left me scratching my head after seeing Agatha et les lectures illimitées(Marguerite Duras, 1981), searching in the dictionary, and still being unable to find the exact word, exact adjective to best describe her expressions. One can’t help wonder what were the words Duras used when she told Ogier how to act in that film. Bulle Ogier is a real testament to the fact that words are too limited, or even meaningless, especially when they deal with emotional nuance.

MY COMMENT ON "UP, DOWN, FRAGILE" (1995, Jacques Rivette)

OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE (1971, Jacques Rivette, 12 hours 40 minutes) will be screened on 25-26 June at the Reading Room in Bangkok. You can read the details of the screening here:

Here is my comment in on UP, DOWN, FRAGILE (1995, Jacques Rivette). I wrote this comment in 2000.

Superb! Excellent! Two-Thumbs Up! Gratifying! Captivating! Sumptuously Made!

That's still less than half of what I want to say for this film. I saw this film once in February, and completely fell in love with it. When it was shown in a cinema here again in October, I went to see it, doubting if my enjoyment would lessen in the second viewing when it loses all its unpredictability. But I found that my love for it grows even stronger. And I don't mind seeing it over and over again. For me, its running time seems like less than an hour. It makes time fly so quickly. Though a part of me think the film ends at the right point and at the right time, another part of me still yearns to see more of these characters. Nathalie Richard and Marianne Denicourt shines so brightly in this movie. Though I had seen a few films of Richard and Denicourt, it is this film that made me fall in love with them. From this film, I can see that Richard is very talented, and Denicourt is really alluring. I hope they will be very famous and I will have a chance to see many more of their works. Andre Marcon (Roland) is quite good too. As for Laurence Cote (Ida) and Bruno Todeschini, though they might be talented, their roles here are not of very pleasant, cheerful or likeable characters, and seem to require less range of expressive emotions than other characters. (Bruno is a lot more gorgeous in "Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train.") The choreography in this movie is my most favourite of all time. I have never seen any choreography like this before. I also like one irony in this film: Ninon wants to reveal a character's wrongdoing ,but his wrongdoing is in a way similar to her own. Songs here are very beautiful, and I'm quite impressed by Enzo Enzo. I really like the "shock therapy" scene, and an early scene in which Denicourt shows her unexpected strength is not only very comical, but also unforgettable to me.I think I would have a great fun if I could live my life in Rivette's universe, as Ninon, Louise, Celine, or Julie. Though "Celine and Julie Go Boating" is still my most favourite film by Rivette, I think "Haut bas fragile" deserves to be called one the 10 best films of the 1990's.

This is Jonathan Rosenbaum's review on UP, DOWN, FRAGILE:

This is a photo of Nathalie Richard.


OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE (1971, Jacques Rivette, 12 hours 40 minutes) will be screened on 25-26 June at the Reading Room in Bangkok. You can read the details of the screening here:

Here is what Gilles Deleuze wrote about GANG OF FOUR (1988, Jacques Rivette)

A first circle appears (or a segment of one). Let's call it A, since it is first to appear, though it never ceases throughout the film. This circle is an old theater, which serves as a school where some young women are rehearsing the roles they will play (Marivaux, Corneille, Racine) under the direction of Constance (Bulle Ogier). The difficult thing here is for the girls to express authentic feeling -- anger, love, despair -- with words that are not their own, but those of an author. This is the first sense of play: Roles.

One of the girls, Cecile, has left a house in the suburbs to four other girls. She has gone to live elsewhere with the man she loves. The four girls will live together in the house, where they will experience the repercussions of their roles, as well as end-of the-day moods and personal postures, the effects of their private love affairs (to which they only allude), and their various attitudes toward one another. It is almost as if the girls had bounced off the wall of the theater to lead a life which they vaguely share in the house, where bits of their roles are carried over, but spread out in their own lives, with each girl minding her own business. You no longer have a succession of roles governed by a program, but rather a haphazard chain of attitudes and postures following several simultaneous stories that do not intersect. This is the second sense of play: the Attitudes andPostures in their interconnected day-to-day lives. What ceaselessly inspires Rivette is both the group of four girls and their individuation: comic and tragic types, melancholy and sanguine types, graceful and clumsy types, and above all. Lunar and Solar types. This is the second circle, B, inside the first, since it partly depends on the first, by receiving its effects. But circle B distributes these effects in its own way, moving away from the theater only to return to it endlessly.

The four girls are pursued by a man whose identity is unclear -- a con-artist, a spy, a cop -- looking for Cecile's lover (probably a criminal). What's it all about? Stolen IDs, stolen art, arms trafficking, a judiciary scandal? The man is looking for the keys to a locked chest. He tries to seduce each of them in turn, and succeeds with one. The three other girls will try to kill him: the first will try theatrically; the second, coldly; and the third, impulsively. The third girl will in fact beat him to death with a cane. These three scenes are Rivette's greatest moments: absolutely beautiful. This is the third sense of play: Masks, in a political or police conspiracy that goes beyond us, which no one can escape, a kind of global conspiracy. This is the third circle, C, which has a complex relationship to the other two. It prolongs the second circle and is intimately intertwined with it, since it increasingly polarizes the girls' attitudes, providing them with a common measure as it casts its spell on them. But it also spreads out over the whole theater, covering it, perhaps uniting all the disparate pieces of an infinite repertoire. Constance, the director, seems to be an essential element in the conspiracy from the beginning. (Is there not a blank period in her life spanning several years? Does she ever leave the theater, where she hides Cecile's naughty boy, who is probably Constance's lover?) And what about the girls themselves? One girl has an American boyfriend with the same name as the cop; the other girl has the same name as her mysteriously missing sister; and the Portuguese girl, Lucia, who is the epitome of the Lunar type, all of a sudden finds the keys and possesses a painting which is probably real... In short, the three circles are interwoven, acting on one another, progressing through one another, and organizing one another without ever losing their mystery.

We are all rehearsing parts of which we are as yet unaware (our roles). We slip into characters which we do nor master (our attitudes and postures). We serve a conspiracy of which we are completely oblivious (our masks). This is Rivette's vision of the world, it is uniquely his own. Rivette needs theater for cinema to exist: the young girls' attitudes and postures constitute a theatricality of cinema which, measured against the theatricality of theater, contrasts with it and emerges as perfectly distinct from it. And if the political, judicial, and police conspiracies weighing on us are enough to show that the real world has become a bad movie, then it is cinema's job to give us a piece of reality, a piece of the world. Rivette's project -- a cinema that opposes its theatricality to that of theater, its reality to that of the world, which has become unreal -- rescues cinema from the theater and the conspiracies threatening to destroy it.

If the three circles communicate, they do so in places which are Rivette's own, like the back of the theater, or the house in the suburbs. These are places where Nature does not live, bur has survived with a strange grace: the undeveloped parts of a suburb, a rural stretch of city street, or secluded corners and alleyways. Fashion magazines have managed to make perfect, frozen pictures of these places, but everyone forgot that these places came from Rivette, having been impregnated with his dream. In these places conspiracies are hatched, young girls live together, and schools are established. But it is also in these places that the dreamer can still seize the day and the night, the sun and the moon, like a great external Circle governing the other circles, dividing up their light and their shadow.

In a certain way, Rivette has never filmed anything else bur light and its lunar (Lucia) and solar (Constance) transformations. Lucia and Constance are not persons, but forces. Bur this duality cannot be divided into good and evil. Hence Rivette ventures into those places where Nature has survived to verify the state in which the lunar and the solar subsist. Rivette's cinema has always been close to the poetry of Gerard Nerval, as though Rivette were possessed by him. Like Nerval, Rivette tours the remains of a hallucinatory Ile-de-France, tells the story of his own Daughters of Fire, and vaguely feels the conspiracy of an indeterminable madness approaching. It is not a question of influence. Bur this encounter makes Rivette one of the most inspired auteurs in cinema, and one of its great poets.

Originally appeared in Cahiers du Cinema, no. 416, February 1989. Reprinted in Two Regimes of Madness (MIT Press, 2006): p. 355-8.

Yoel Meranda wrote about GANG OF FOUR here:

FILMSICK ON DUELLE (1976, Jacques Rivette)

OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE (1971, Jacques Rivette, 12 hours 40 minutes) will be screened on 25-26 June at the Reading Room in Bangkok. You can read the details of the screening here:

Here is what Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa wrote about DUELLE (1976, Jacques Rivette):

เราขอตั้งชื่อไทยของหนังเรื่องนี้ว่า 'ศึกเจ้าแม่ตะวันจันทรามหาภัย!' เพราะนี่คือหนังแบบที่เราจะเห็นก็แต่ในพลอต ของหนังกำลังภายในเท่านั้น พลอตของหนังคือการชิงความเป็นใหญ่ในการตามหาหินวิเศษ ระหว่างเจ้าแม่ตะวัน (บูล โอลเจียร์ ในชุดสีแดงเพลิงหรือ ทอง ) และเจ้าแม่จันทรา (จูเลีย แบร์โตในชุดสีน้ำเงิน เงิน ม่วง) ทั้งสองเจ้าแม่เสด็จลงมาบนโลกมนุษย์ในคืนเพ็ญแรกของฤดูใบใบไม้ผลิเพื่อตามหาหินวิเศษที่จะช่วยให้พวกนางมีชีวิตอยู่บนโลกมนุษย์ได้ยาวนานขึ้น วิธีการนั้นหรือก็คือการร่ายมนต์ใส่มนุษย์ทั้งหลายให้กลายเป็นข้าช่วงใช้ออกตามล่าหาหินวิเศษซึ่งอยู่ที่ใครคนใดคนหนึ่งในเหล่าตัวละครนั่นแหละ

พลอตอาจจะฟังดูอลังการงานสร้างแต่ตัวหนังราวกับเป็นฉบับทำเองก็ได้ง่ายจังเพราะที่เราจะได้เห็นคือบรรดาตัวละครในเครื่องทรงอลังการ เดินกรีดกรายไปมาในฉากที่เหมือนเมืองแถวบ้าน สเปเชียลเอฟเฟคต์เป็นสิ่งเกินจำเป็น อาศัยแค่การจัดไฟ การตัดต่อ และการแสดงท่าทางง่ายๆก็สร้างมนต์ขลังได้โดยไม่ต้องพึ่งพาโปรแกรมคอมพิวเตอร์แต่อย่างใด บรรดาดาราก็พาเหรดกันมาวางท่าเขื่องโข กรีดกรายกรุ้มกริ่มชนิดไม่มีใครยอมแพ้ใคร (โดยเฉพาะสองราชินีที่มีรัศมีแบบกลืนกันไม่ลง คนหนึ่งในแสงและอีกคนในความมืด)

รีแวตต์พาเราท่องโลกจินตนิยายแห่งการล่อลวงมนุษย์มาหลอกใช้ได้อย่างลึกลับ สนุกสนาน โดยไม่ต้องเสียเวลาแต่งหน้าทาสีหนังของตนเองแต่อย่างใด กระทั่งเพลงประกอบก็ไม่มีใช้ให้รกหู มีแต่การเสแสร้งแกล้งทำของบรรดานักแสดงที่เชื่อเอาเป็นเอาตายว่ากำลังอยู่ในภาวะคับขันของโลก และต้องสู้สุดใจ (แม้จะแค่วิ่งไล่กันในโรงเต้นรำก็เถอะ)เพื่อจะเอาชีวิตรอด ความขึงขังเขื่องโขของนักแสดง และการตัดต่ออันเรียบแต่วิจิตร ทำให้หนังประหลาดที่มีแต่คนแต่งตัวแปลกๆเที่ยวเดินท่อมๆในอะควาเรียมกลางคืน สถานีรถไฟไร้ผู้คน โรงเต้นรำหงอยๆ หรือสวนในยามสาง กลายเป็นดินแดนจินตนาการเหนือความคาดหมายไปจนได้ ราวกับว่ารีแวตต์พร้อมจะเสกอากาศให้เป็นสวนสนุก เสกสิ่งเฉื่อยชาสามัญให้กลายเป็นมิดเดิ้ลเอิร์ธโดยไม่ต้องไปเสียเวลาจ้างช่างเทคนิคมาตกแต่งให้เปลืองงบประมาณ แถมยังชักพาอารมณ์ขึงขังลึกลับในระดับที่ปีเตอร์ แจคสันอาจจะไปไม่ถึงอีกต่างหาก ลำพังแค่ฉากการดวลของราชินีตะวันจันทราในภาพที่ยกมานี้ก็พอจะทำลายล้างแฮรร์รี่พอตเตอร์ลงไปได้สามภาคครึ่งแล้ว!

ว่ากันอีกที นี่ก็อาจจะเป็นหนังเพื่อนหญิงพลังหญิงที่ยิ่งกว่าผู้หญิงถึงผู้หญิง เพราะนี่คือเกมอำนาจของหญิงล้วน ที่มีผู้ชายเพีนงคนเดียวแถไปแถมาอยู่ระหว่างพวกเธอ ราชินีตะวันหลอกล่อเปียโรต์ให้ตามหาหิน แต่เขาเป็นพี่ชายของลูซิล สาวรีเซปชั่นโรงแรมที่เคยรู้จักกับแขกคนหนึ่ง ซึ่งราชินีจันทราปลอมตัวมาตามหา (บางครั้งนางก็ปลอมตัวเป็นผู้ชายด้วย) แต่กลายเป็นว่าหมอตายเสียแล้วและทิ้งมรดกเอาไว้ที่ผู้หญิงสองคนคนหนึ่งคือนางซิลเวียสาวที่อาจจะเป็นรักเดียวของเปียโรต์หรืออาจะเป็๋นนางฌานน์ สาวนักเต้นที่เปียโรต์มาแอบกิ๊ก ในโลกมนุษย์อีตาเปียโรต์อาจจะกิ๊กหญิงนั่นนี่มากมาย แต่ไปๆมาๆเขาก็เป็นแค่หมากให้สองราชินีร่ายมนต์ใส่จนวิ่งไปวิ่งมาเป็นข้าช่วงใช้ แถมสองราชินียังผลัดกันฆ่าสองสาวรักเก่าใหม่ของตาเปียโรต์ไปเสียอีก อย่างไรก็ดีพอมาถึงที่สุดผุ้ชนะก็กลายเป็นยายลูซิลล์น้องสาวที่ไม่ได้เกี่ยวข้องอะไรกับหินวิเศษหรือรักซ้อนซ่อนเรื่องอะไร

กล่าวให้ถึงที่สุดเจ้าหินวิเศษก็มีสาชถานะเหมือนผู้ชายที่นางสองเจ้าแม่ตามหา และลงเหวไปกับมัน เพื่อให้ได้เป็นมนุษย์ที่สมบูรณ์(หรือเปล่า?) แต่ผู้หญิงอย่างลูซิล ซึ่งไม่มีแฟน ไม่เพ้อเจ้อเรื่องรัก กลายเป็นผู้กุมชัยชนะ นี่อาจจะตีความแบบงงๆแต่ก็คิดว่าน่าสนุกดีเหมือนกัน ที่มีการแบ่งผู้หญิงออกเป็นสองส่วน และผู้ชายเป้ฯแกนกลางเข้าไปได้ แถมตอนจบยายลูซิล ยังมานั่งนับเลขแล้วบอกว่าสองบวกสองไม่ได้สี่นะเธอว์ ทุกอย่างมันล้มสลายลงมาหมดแล้ว อีกต่างหาก!


OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE (1971, Jacques Rivette, 12 hours 40 minutes) will be screened on 25-26 June at the Reading Room in Bangkok. You can read the details of the screening here:

Manny Farber on Jacques Rivette, from the article KITCHEN WITHOUT KITSCH (1977):

"CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING (1974, Jacques Rivette, 192 min) is a new organism, the atomization of a character, an event, a space, as though all of its small spaces have been desolidified to allow air to move amongst the tiny spaces. A bit like a Cézanne watercolor, where more than half the event is elided to allow energy to move in and out of vague landscape notations, Rivette's slap-happy duo in a musical without music can't be defined. Each is a series of coy and narcissistic actions. They appear out of nowhere, no past profession or character traits: at one moment Céline is a sober librarian, and at another she is a stage magician, suddenly a fantastic extrovert. Who are these people in the large Gothic establishment? A shaft of air encircles each bit of information about the two mysteries; things are deliberately kept uncircled."

Manny Farber interviewed by Richard Thompson in 1977:

"A very important move in art – you get it in the novel, in Duras, Rivette, the best of Altman, late Snow – is an idea of process art which has to do with a diversionary scheme where you don't get centralized on one character or on a cast of characters doing something. Now the interest, over several areas of art, is on what's possible if you get away from the idea of the work as the course of life a person takes or the role that one person has in an environment.

I'm more interested in getting at the truth of the way we live by slicing through the event from a different angle rather than through the one person or the three persons involved in the event. If you take the event as a congeries of elements, and the event isn't centered or focused from a single viewpoint, then the viewpoint is about that dispersal."

"The thing that intrigues me about Laurel and Hardy is that they're sort of lost in the frame, they don't work it to their advantage, either aesthetically or egoistically. That's what's exciting about a Duras or Rivette movie. There's a great deal of reality and truth, and it's magic; you forget the idea of a linear construction into a story or into an event. The edge of the frame is where art is today. That's a big statement, but that's where the fun is. Not only the edge of the frame, the edge of the soundtrack. Not like Bernard Hermann's TAXI DRIVER idea, in which you're inside the movie, there's nowhere to go, it's like a bowling alley.

I think one of the problems with my early criticism is that it assumes you're supposed to be able to follow everything and then get this meaning of a scene. I don't see how or why anyone should be expected to get the MEANING of an event in a movie or a painting. That's a place where criticism goes wrong: it keeps trying for the complete solution. I think the point of criticism is to build up the mystery. And the point is to find movies which have a lot of puzzle in them, a lot of questions."

Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa (Filmsick) wrote a review of CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING (1974, Jacques Rivette) in Thai in his blog in 2007. You can read Filmsick’s original writing in Thai here:

You can read my translation into English of Filmsick’s review here:

This is a watercolor painting called LE MONT SAINTE-VICTOIRE (1902-1906) by Cézanne. It unintentionally reminds me of the film WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1985, Jacques Rivette).


OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE (1971, Jacques Rivette, 12 hours 40 minutes) will be screened on 25-26 June at the Reading Room in Bangkok. You can read the details of the screening here:

This is what Geoff Andrew wrote about OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE in Time Out Film Guide:

This reviewer goes along with much of Jonathan Rosenbaum's assessment of the shorter OUT 1: SPECTRE, but can confirm that qualitative judgment flies out the window after two or three of the eight "episodes" that make up the stunning 12.5 hour version. For one thing, the extensive footage of experimental theatrical workshopping in the earlier episodes forces one to adjust to a pace and vagueness of 'meaning' wholly different from those found in narrative cinema. For another, specificity is rare throughout, evocative ambiguity the norm. Thus it's unclear whether the 'outsiders' (Jean-Pierre Léaud and Juliet Berto) are any less crazed than the thesps intent on updating Aeschylus or the 'conspirators' concerned by a possible internal breach of trust. Still, great fun may be had following the (probably insoluble) plot twists, relating 'real' events, such as they are, to the theatrical, literary, and filmic allusions (Balzac, Lewis Carroll, Sergio Leone), watching so many attractive nouvelle vague performers, and – well – going with the admittedly variable flow. There are moments of ennui, but it's mostly exciting, scary, strange, tiring, exhilarating – and, surprisingly, often very funny.

Jonathan Rosenbaum on OUT 1: SPECTRE (1972, 255 min) in Time Out Film Guide

Jacques Rivette's grandest and boldest experiment to date (based on Balzac's L'HISTOIRE DES TREIZE) enrages some spectators because it gives them so much to cope with: 255 minutes of improvisation by at least half of the best New Wave actors, edited and arranged so that sometimes it's telling a complex mystery story – about thirteen conspirators, two theatre groups, and a couple of crazed outsiders – while the rest of the time it's telling a realistic story about the same people that deliberately makes no sense at all. Not so much a digest of Rivette's legendary 12-hour version (hardly ever screened, it's title is OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE) as a ghost and a reworking of some of the same material ('a critique', Rivette himself says) it's a challenging and a terrifying journey for all who can bear with it. As Richard Roud put it: 'Cinema will never be the same, and neither will I."

Richard Roud on OUT 1: SPECTRE

"a mind-blowing experience, but one which, instead of taking one ‘out of this world’ as the expression has it, took one right smack into the world. Or into a world which one only dimly realised was there – always right there beneath the everyday world...the cinema will never be the same again, and nor will I."

Friday, June 24, 2011


I just participated in a Facebook game called 30 DAY CINEPHILE CHALLENGE

Thanks to Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa for telling us about this.

Day 1: Your favorite opening scene – WHAT I LOVE THE MOST (2010, Delfina Castagnino, Argentina). In this scene, we see the backs of two women talking to each other. The scene and the conversation in it feel like they come from "the middle" of a story, not from the opening of a story.


Thanks to Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa for telling me about this dirty joke Thai song.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE (1971, Jacques Rivette, 12 hours 53 minutes) WILL BE SCREENED ON 25-26 JUNE at the Reading Room in Bangkok. You can read the details of the screening here:

Jonathan Rosenbaum on OUT 1:

Work and Play in the House of Fiction: On Jacques Rivette

Jonathan Rosenbaum

n the spring of 1970, Jacques Rivette shot about thirty hours of improvisation with over three dozen actors. Out of this massive and extremely open-ended material have emerged two films, both of which contrive to subvert the traditional movie going experience at its roots. Out 1, lasting twelve hours and forty minutes, has been screened publicly only once (at Le Havre, 9-10 September 1971) and remains for all practical purposes an invisible, legendary work. (Its subtitle, significantly, is Noli Me Tangere.) Spectre, which Rivette spent the better part of a year editing out of the first film -- running 255 minutes, or roughly a third as long -- was released in Paris earlier this year. And during the interval between the editing of Spectre and its release, Rivette shot and edited a third film, Celine et Julie vont en Bateau, 195 minutes in length, which surfaced in Cannes last May. The differences between Spectre and Celine et Julie vont en Bateau are considerable: they are respectively the director's "heaviest" film and his "lightest," probably the least and most accessible of his six features to date. Both of them clearly situate Rivette in the forefront of narrative innovation in contemporary French cinema, exhibiting a sophistication about the entire fiction-making process that seems to go well beyond the recent efforts of his peers. On a narrative level, one might say that they resume a line of development abandoned by Resnais afterLast Year at Marienbad and Muriel, and by Godard after 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her and Made in U.S.A.

To have fused many of the concerns of these separate lines of inquiry is remarkable enough. What is more remarkable still is that Rivette has extended them, into the outer reaches of a terrain that the following notes can only attempt to sketch.

[Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz] causes earache the first time through, especially for those new to Coleman's music. The second time, its cacophony lessens and its complex balances and counter-balances begin to take effect. The third time, layer upon layer of pleasing configurations -- rhythmic, melodic, contrapuntal, tonal -- becomes visible. The fourth or fifth listening, one swims readily along, about ten feet down, breathing the music like air.

-Whitney Balliett, "Abstract," in Dinosaurs in the Morning

If there is something comforting-religious, if you want -- about paranoia, there is still also anti-paranoia, where nothing is connected to anything, a condition not many of us can bear for long.

-Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

The organizing principle adopted by Rivette in shooting the raw material of Out 1 and Spectre was the notion of acomplot (plot, conspiracy) derived from Balzac's Histoire des treize, where thirteen individuals occupying different sectors of French society form a secret alliance to consolidate their power. Consciously setting out to make a critique of the conspiratorial zeitgeist of his first feature, Paris Nous Appartient, Rivette also used this principle to arrange meetings and confrontations between his actors, each of whom was invited to invent and improvise his own character in relation to the overall intrigue.

It should be noted that repeated viewings of Spectre help to clarify not its "plot" but its formal organization. The analogy suggested above between Rivette and Coleman is far more relevant, however, to the notion ofperformance. Much like Coleman's thirty-eight-minute venture into group improvisation with seven other musicians,Spectre's surface is dictated by accommodations, combinations, and clashes brought about by contrasting styles of "playing." The textures run the gamut from the purely cinematic skills of Jean-Pierre Leaud and Juliet Berto to the stage-bound techniques of Francoise Fabian; from the nervousness of Michel Lonsdale to the placidity of Jacques Doniol-Valcroze; from the reticence of Bulle Ogier to the garrulity of Bernadette Lafont.

For Coleman as for Rivette, the thematic material is kept to a minimum and mainly used as an expedient -- a launching pad to propel each solo player into a "statement" of his own that elicits responses from the others. Apart from the brief ensemble passages written by Coleman, there is no composer behind Free Jazz, hence no composition; the primary role of Coleman as leader is to assemble players and establish a point of departure for their improvising.

Rivette's role in Spectre is similar, with the crucial difference that he edits aand rearranges the material afterward, assembling shots as well as players. And the assembly is one that works against the notion of continuity: sustained meaning, the province of an auteur, is deliberately withheld -- from the audience as well as the actors. Consequently, it is hardly surprising that the "13" in Spectre never reveals itself as anything more than a chimera. By the time the film is two-thirds over, it is evident that the complot is a pipe dream that never got off the ground, an idea once discussed among thirteen individuals that apparently went no further. Aside from the efforts of certain characters (mainly Lonsdale and Fabian) to keep its real or hypothetical existence hidden, and the attempts or threats of others (Leaud, Berto, Ogier) to "expose" it, the "13" never once assumes a recognizable shape -- in the dialogue or on the screen.

Spectre begins by pretending to tell us four separate stories at once. We watch two theater groups rehearsingPrometheus Bound (directed by Lonsdale) and Seven Against Thebes (a collective), and also observe Leaud and Berto -- two rather crazed and curious loners, each of whom tricks strangers in cafes out of money. (Leaud impersonates a deaf-mute; Berto usually starts by flirting.) For the first thirty-five shots -- ten of them black-and-white stills accompanied by an electronic hum -- Rivette cuts between these four autonomous units, establishing no plot connections. The only links set up are occasional formal repetitions: a scene echoed by a subsequent still, two pans in separate shots of Leaud and Berto in their rooms. Even within each unit, many shots are either "too long" or "too short" to be conventionally assimilable as narrative. Rivette often cuts in the middle of a sentence or a movement, and the missing pieces are not always recuperated. Conversely, a shot in which Leaud's concierge reminds him to leave his key ends irrelevantly with her walking away from the camera and sitting down at a table to write. Like some of the cryptic stills punctuating later portions of the film, such a diversion proposes -- without ever substantiating -- yet another supplementary fiction.

Then almost miraculously, in the thirty-sixth shot, two of the four "plots" are brought together: Leaud is suddenly handed a slip of paper by a member of the theater collective. On it is typed a seemingly coded message which he sets out to decipher, along with a subsequent message he receives, following clues provided by references to Balzac and "The Hunting of the Snark" (the former gracefully explained by Eric Rohmer in a cameo role). And when Leaud's deductions eventually lead him to a hippy boutique called "l' Angle du hasard," the "plot" appreciably thickens: the boutique is run by Ogier, whom we later discover is a friend of both Lonsdale and Michele Moretti, another member of the collective; and all three are members of the alleged "13."

Meanwhile, Berto, the fourth narrative strand, has been making some unwitting connections of her own. After stealing letters from the flat of Doniol-Valcroze (another one of the "13," along with his wife, Francoise Fabian) for the purpose of possible blackmail, she dons a wig and arranges a meeting with Fabian: an incongruous match suggesting Mickey Rooney versus Rohmer's Maud. Then, when she fails to collect money, she turns up at the boutique to try the same ploy with Ogier. This second encounter marks the fusion of all four "plots," and occurs just before the film's intermission. It is the only time Berto and Leaud ever cross paths (they are the only important characters who never meet), and the spectator may well feel at this point that he is finally being led out of chaos. But the second half of Spectre, after drawing the four strands together more tightly, proceeds to unravel them again; and the final hour leaves us as much in the dark as we were in the first. Indeed, the delivery of the first message to Leaud is totally gratuitous, an act that is never explained, and most of the other "connections" are brought about by equally expedient contrivances. In a country house occupied at various times by Lafont, Lonsdale, Ogier, and Moretti, Rivette parodies the very notion of "hidden meaning" in a subtler way, by making sure that a single nondescript bust with no acknowledged relation to the "plot" is visible in every room. It even crops up in the locked room possibly inhabited by Igor, Ogier's missing husband, a room she enters only near the end of the film. Obviously the bust is a joke; but why is it there? To suggest a complot. And according to the tactics ofSpectre, suggesting a complot is at once an absurdity and a necessity: it leads us nowhere except forward.

Complot, in short, becomes the motivation behind a series of transparent gestures: spectres of action playing over a void. We watch actors playing at identity and meaning the way that children do, with many of the games leading to dead ends or stalemates, some exhausting themselves before they arrive anywhere, and still others creating solid roles and actions that dance briefly in the theater of the mind before dissolving into something else. Nothing remains fixed, and everything becomes ominous. Relentlessly investigated by Leaud and blindly exploited by Berto, the spectre of the "13" reactivates the paranoia of its would-be members, mainly increasing the distances between them. Other crises intervene (a stranger runs off with the money of an actor in the collective; Ogier threatens to publish the intercepted letters); fear begets fear; both theater groups disperse; Ogier and Moretti are last seen driving off to meet the perpetually missing Igor; and Berto and Leaud are each returned to their isolation. Repeated "empty" shots of Place d'Italie in the final reel -- chilling mixtures of Ozu-like emptiness with Langian terror -- embody this growing sense of void, which ultimately widens to swallow up everything else in the film.

Much as folie a deux figures centrally in L'Amour Fou and Celine et Julie vont en Bateau, failed folie a deuxgradually becomes the very essence of Spectre. The inability to "connect" reveals itself as part and parcel of the incapacity to sustain fictions, a failure registering most poignantly in the relationship of Ogier and Leaud, which begins with mutual attraction and ends in estrangement. Of all the ''two-part inventions" in Spectre, theirs is the richest in shifting tensions, and the growing rift is brilliantly underlined by the staging of their scenes in the boutique -- particularly when they're stationed in adjoining rooms on opposite sides of the screen, each vying in a different way for our attention. This spatial tension reaches its climax in their last scene together, on the street, when Ogier forcibly breaks away and Leaud mimes the invisible barrier between them by pushing at it in agonized desperation, finally wandering in a diagonal trajectory out of the frame while blowing a dissonant wail on his harmonica.

"It didn't work," he feebly confesses in the film's final shot, after repeatedly trying to make his Eiffel Tower trinket swing back and forth exactly thirteen times. Speaking for the audience and the other actors/characters as well as for Rivette and himself, he is testifying to the impossibility of a sustained pattern or meaning. On the deepest level, he is expressing an anguished agnosticism toward all fiction, directing a frightened stare into the face of intractable reality.

An infernal machine programmed to arouse narrative expectations in order to frustrate them, begin stories in order to contradict or cancel them, Spectre cruelly exposes the artifices of cinematic fiction by revealing many of the precise ways that they play on our reflexes. The scenes of violence that figure in the second half -- Ogier's murder of a messenger (played by the film's producer!) and the brutal beating of Berto by a leather jacket named Marlon (Jean-Francois Stevenin) -- are especially disturbing in this respect. They perform the ritualistic role of supplying "action" and "excitement" at junctures whim we probably feel that they're most sorely needed, yet the reasons for these actions are so enigmatic that they fulfill no other visible function.

Even more than Rivette's other features, Spectre is built around a series of profound contradictions. Its apparent subject and substance is group effort, yet what it finally conveys is entropy and isolation. The extraordinary freedom of the shooting is counteracted by the aggressive constraint of the montage. One could reproach the film for having either "too little" or "too much" -- a paradox reflected in the title, which suggests all colors (spectrum) as well as none (the transparency of a ghost). Without proposing any sort of influence, it is interesting to compare the title of Gravity's Rainbow, another recent work oscillating between form and formlessness, plotting and chaos, a compulsive desire to control the world and an equally strong desire to leave it alone -- a novel, in fact, that proceeds to tie and untie its strands with a similar duplicity of purpose and diffusion of focus.

Before editing Spectre, Rivette spoke in a Le Monde interview of wanting to make it "not a digest of the long version, but another film having its own logic: closer to a puzzle or a crossword game, playing less on affectivity and more on rhymes or oppositions, ruptures or connections, caesuras or censorships." But it is a game that one submits to rather than plays, for it offers no chances of winning. One can sit before it as though at a tribunal -- facing an Inquisition that repeatedly asks "Why?" -- or one can watch it like network television, and ignore the contradictions as if they were commercial breaks, viewing it all as pure spectacle. Or -- likelier still, alas -- one can get caught between these two possibilities, and intermittently become bored. A do-it-yourself kit, Spectrehas no singular experience to convey, but a set of raw materials. Like Leaud in the film, we can concoct plenty of formulas out of them. A submerged history of the splinterings and disaffections of Cahiers du Cinema after 1968? A film as steeped in silences as certain works by Webern? A semi-Sadean exposure of a lot of personal traits that actors generally seek to hide, particularly uncertainty and fear? Or a flight into the unknown seeking no "success" or predetermined destination, only adventure?

SPECTRE isn't easy going for anyone, nor was it intended to be. Leaving its audience and its actors each suspended over a void, it offers itself as a dead-end experiment that can be neither emulated nor repeated -- although it certainly will be learned from for years to come. Going further in self-annihilating narrative than any director before him, Rivette has burned up all the ground beneath his feet.

Originally appeared in Sight and Sound 43, Autumn 1974: p. 190-4. Reprinted in Placing Movies: The Practice of Film Criticism (University of California Press, 1995): p. 142-52.

You can buy the book here:

Films about "Community by the Sea"


1.CHARLIE ST. CLOUD (2010, Burr Steers, A-)

2.COLD WATER OF THE SEA (2010, Paz Fábrega, Costa Rica, A+)

3.CRAB TRAP (2009, Oscar Ruiz Navia, Colombia, A+)

4.THE END OF THE GOLDEN WEATHER (1991, Ian Mune, New Zealand, A)

5.THE GEM FROM THE DEEP (1987, Cherd Songsri, A+)

6.A HEARTFUL OF LOVE (2005, Akihiko Shiota, A)

7.THE LIGHT (2004, Philippe Lioret, France, A)

8.NABBIE'S LOVE (1999, Yuji Nakae, A+)

9.SWIMMING (2000, Robert J. Siegel, A+)

10.WHAT I'M DOING HERE! (2006, Francesco Amato, Italy, A-)


1.CAVIER, A TREASURE FROM IRAN (2008, Dariusch Rafiy, A+)

2.GALICIA, ENDANGERED FISHERMEN (2009, Anuschka Seifert + Bernd Gerriets, Spain, A+/A)

3.HAWAII BEACH BOYS (2009, Carsten Maas, A)

There's a very interesting marathon event held in a long stretch of beach in New Zealand, but this event causes some conflicts. What I like very much in this film is the fact that the conflict about the marathon event is not only about the Maori versus the Whites, but also about various Maori tribes who used to fight against one another in the region.

5.RIAU ORANG LENT (Zai Kuning, Singapore/Indonesia, A+/A)

6.SCILLY, THE NARCISSUS ISLAND (2009, Heiko de Groot, UK, A-)
If I remember it correctly, what I like very much in this film is the dilemma about the nature conservation vs. fishery. Some poor fishermen want to fish in an area where the environmentalists think should be protected from fishing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


This is from a conversation with a Facebook friend:

--ถ้าเต้อยู่ไปสักพัก และเริ่มคุ้นชินว่าแต่ละทางเลือกมีข้อดีข้อเสียอะไรบ้าง และลำดับความชอบของตัวเองเป็นอย่างไรกันแน่ เต้ก็จะตัดสินใจเลือกได้ง่ายขึ้นจ้ะ ส่วนของตัวพี่เองนั้น จัดลำดับทางเลือกของตัวเองไว้คร่าวๆในตอนนี้ดังต่อไปนี้

1.ละครเวทีโรงเล็ก เพราะมันมีสิทธิ์หาโอกาสดูในอนาคตได้ยากที่สุด installation เพราะมันเป็นสิ่งที่ไม่สามารถดูได้ทาง DVD แต่เวลาในการจัดแสดงมักจะนานกว่าละครเวที ก็เลยจัดให้มันอยู่อันดับสอง

3.หนังและละครโทรทัศน์ฝรั่งเศสที่มันฉายทางช่อง TV5 MONDE ASIE เพราะหนังและละครเหล่านี้มักหาดูแบบมีซับไตเติลภาษาอังกฤษทาง DVD ไม่ได้




7.สรุปว่าพี่ก็เลยไม่เหลือเวลาเอาไว้อ่านหนังสืออีกต่อไป เพราะหมดเวลาไปกับ 6 ข้อข้างต้นจนหมด

ถ้าหากเราเลือกผิด เราก็อาจจะเสียใจไปอีกนานก็ได้นะ เหตุการณ์ที่พี่เสียใจมาตลอด 15-16 ปีที่ผ่านมา ก็คือการตัดสินใจไม่ไปดูหนังเหล่านี้ตอนที่มันมาฉายในกรุงเทพ

1.THE MAN WHO LIES (1968, Alain Robbe-Grillet) เคยมาฉายที่ Alliance ตอนต้นปี 1997

2.TRANSATLANTIS (1995, Christian Wagner) เคยมาฉายที่ศาลาเฉลิมกรุงตอนปี 1996 แต่ตอนนั้นตัดสินใจไปดู ERASER (1996, Charles Russell) กับผู้ชายที่ตัวเองชอบแทน แต่ในที่สุดผู้ชายคนนั้นก็ไม่เอาเราแต่อย่างใด ฮ่าๆๆ

3. PERSISTENCE (1997, Daniel Eisenberg) หนังมาฉายในเทศกาลหนังทดลองตอนปลายปี 1999 แต่จำได้ว่าวันนั้นตัดสินใจไปดู SPRING SYMPHONY (1983, Peter Schamoni, B+) ที่เกอเธ่


This song is used in the film THE LAST OF ENGLAND (1988, Derek Jarman). I wonder if the temple portrayed in the middle of this music video is in Cambodia or not. It looks familiar.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE (1971, Jacques Rivette, 12 hours 53 minutes) WILL BE SCREENED IN BANGKOK ON 25-26 JUNE

OUT 1: NOLI ME TANGERE (1971, Jacques Rivette, 12 hours 53 minutes) WILL BE SCREENED ON 25-26 JUNE at the Reading Room in Bangkok. You can read the details of the screening here:

This is an interview with Jacques Rivette on OUT 1

Interview with Jacques Rivette, April 1973
Conducted by Bernard Eisenschitz, Jean-Andre Fieschi and Eduardo de GregorioTranslated by Tom Milne.

Jacques Rivette has made four films (or five if, as we shall see, the last may be counted as double): Paris nous appartient, La Religieuse, L'Amour fou and Out/Spectre. The first two, to simplify slightly, belong to theclassical cinema: predominant are a dramaturgy pre-existing the filming, a written text, a 'planned' decoupage. The films that follow radically modify the function and powers traditionally assigned to the film-maker: here the script is no longer a program to be carried out, a score to be followed, but a sort of vast fictional trap, simultaneously rigorous and open, designed to orient the improvisation (by actors and technicians), to subject it to certain 'obligatory passages' or to abandon it to a fret flow which will acquire its order, its scansion, its proportions only during the final montage, in an ultimate interplay between the inherent logic of the material filmed (its potentialities, its resistances) and the demands of a rational critical organization. Critical in two ways: of the material filmed (concrete) and of the scheme (abstract) which provided the initial impulse. This attitude, with the principle pushed to its limits, resulted in the birth of a film-fleuve with Out, undoubtedly one of the longest in the history of the cinema: thirteen hours. Needless to say, under the current distribution system (and with television being what it is where culture is concerned), this film has remained, except on one single and highly successful occasion at the Maison de la Culture in Le Havre, virtually unseen by the public. But Out is two films. A 'shorter' version exists, running for approximately four hours, which is not simply a digest of the full version (as was the case, it may be recalled, with the condensed version of L'Amour fou disowned by Rivette), but quite literally a reorganization along new lines of the completely transformed premises: it is another film, a splintered reflection of the first, illuminating, obfuscating, challenging it by suggesting other avenues or angles of approach for anyone who has seen both films, but also working perfectly as an autonomous experience.

A case as systematic as this (two different films emerging from the same basic material) is, as far as I am aware, unique. It goes without saying that the interview which follows is justified primarily by the intrinsic interest of Rivette's method, since readers of La Nouvelle Critique will have seen neither Out (thirteen hours) norSpectre (four hours). But through these two films, perforce unavailable for the moment as concrete items of reference for the interview, a whole problematic is adumbrated that is of vital importance today, with Rivette among those who have explored it furthest in both theory and practice: the problem in the cinema (following Rouch, Perrault and a few others) or in music (Cage, Stockhausen) of the relationship between premeditation and improvisation, freedom and restraint (between chance and design); the problem of another function (different, if not less important) for the filmmaker and his collaborators, technicians or actors; of new fictional forms arising from this method; of 'direct' cinema and its possibilities, its limits, its risks; of montage; and, more generally, the problem of 'performance'. Furthermore: Rivette's thinking is founded on an extensive, systematic intercourse with existing cinema in its entirety, both as a heritage that is constantly revalued and restored to its proper perspective (from Feuillade and Griffith to Godard and Resnais), and as a cultural environment (the cinema developing its form). With this in mind, the interview attempts to introduce a train of thought to be pursued in terms of history and the evolution of forms. These general considerations explain the specific organization of the text that follows. The first part is devoted to Out (and the overall problematic illuminated by that film). The second, more generally, to the cinema today, and to those elements in the cinema today that constitute for Rivette what Pierre Boulez would call 'a crestline' (Jancso, Fellini, Straub, Tati, Bergman, etc).

Q--What is the origin of Out (its place in relation to your earlier films)? What part is played by doubt and certainty - or premeditation and chance, for that matter - in the initial stages of a project like this?

A--It's a sort of offhand synthesis, treated deliberately offhandedly, of contradictory things I had been more or less thinking about for more or less a long time. There was the desire I'd had before La Religieuse, and which was aggravated by the filming of La Religieuse, to make a film which, instead of being predicated on a central character presented as the conscience reflecting everything that happens in the action, would be a film about a collective, about a group, though in what form I didn't know exactly. One of the only things I did know was that it wasn't going to beset in Paris but in a small provincial town.

A group of young men and women, fluctuating since it was to cover three months, six months, a year, with the theoretical notion - a little too theoretical, actually - that the point was the variations within the group, so that eventually, by the end of the film, the people wouldn't be the same ones as at the beginning, all the members of the group had changed and their relationships had become completely different, with even the group becoming something else again. Finally the idea was left up in the air because I couldn't find an anchoring point for it.

Another desire I had, at variance with the first, was one that came to me much later, possibly in thinking about Mediterranee (1) and that type of film. It certainly also came to me in connection with About Something Else(2) and other films based on this principle of parallel narratives. This was the desire to make a film which would not be made up of just two interlocking films but of several, a whole series. Although it isn't a good film, or maybe because of that, I don't really know, I had been struck by Cayatte's La Vie conjugale.(3) What I liked about it was that when you saw the first film, you thought it was awful, but when you saw the second it began to be interesting. Above all, seeing the second one made you want to see the first again. I very much wanted to make a series of films referring back and forth to each other.

I set out from all these ideas, and when shooting began, it was with the intention of filming material inspired by quite separate characters, so that there would be four completely different 'threads' at the outset, without knowing - I should have known, but I'd avoided asking myself the question - how this material, would be edited together. Ultimately, perhaps it would have had to be edited in the form of films independent of each other but referring back and forth, along the lines of La Vie conjugale, though instead of having two films showing both sides of the same story, there would have been at least three films whose relationship to each other wouldn't just have been positive and negative, right side and wrong side. But this wasn't a carefully blueprinted project; on the contrary it was a sort of amorphous mixture of more or less bygone impulses that had coagulated in this way.

Several films in one

Anyway, a week before shooting began, I was faced by the need to find some way of representing all this. The situation was becoming urgent if we weren't to waste the six weeks' filming provided for by the budget, so we had to have a planned shooting schedule. I spent two days with Suzanne Schiffman. (4) All one afternoon she asked me questions, saying tell me everything you know. So I told her roughly what I knew, the characters, remembering what each actor had said, what he wanted to do, what we'd talked about in each case. (5)

Suzanne scribbled all this stuff down, filling up thirty or forty pages in a notebook. Then we looked at each other and we said: what are we going to do with all this? We tried to take each character in turn, but nothing came of that, then suddenly I think it was she who had the great idea: we must draw up a bogus chronology- because after all a story does unfold in time - indicating an arbitrary number of weeks and days on the vertical lines, and the names of the characters going the other way. From that moment... it was very odd but this sort of grid influenced the film a lot.

The great temptation was, not to fill in all the squares of course, but when you saw from the document that Colin, say, was meeting somebody or other, to think: well now, why shouldn't he meet so-and-so as well? Our idea throughout wasn't so much to have one character meet another, Colin and Thomas, or one actor another, Jean-Pierre Leaud and Michel Lonsdale, and so forth. But it seemed a pity not to have this or that actor at the same time and to have them confront each other for at least twenty minutes to see whether anything happened between them. After that it became like a game, like a crossword. Actually it was done very quickly.

Whereas L'Amour fou brought into play two individuals and (centering on Jean-Pierre Kalfon) a group of people particularly coherent as a group (being basically Marc'O's company (6) at that time), by contrast with this I wanted to play on a more heteroclite, more heterogeneous casting; to play on the heterogeneity, and in fact from my point of view this heterogeneity is much less flagrant than I'd originally planned.

Q--And afterwards, when filming was completed, what was it like compared to your prior idea (or ideas)?

A--To our way of thinking, the diagram indicated possibilities; it was a way of starting off a film which could be even longer and which could be continued, where the various strands were brought together of a plot that could be continued, with new characters still to turn up later on. We had made up a possible list of all the actors who might be interested in working on a project like this. The ending was deliberately inconclusive. I'd asked Suzanne to plan the work schedule so that during the last few days of shooting, corresponding roughly to the last week in our chronology, we wouldn't be trapped by the grid in everything concerning the ending; this way we could change, rearrange if need be, depending on what happened during filming earlier. In the end I suddenly felt - and Suzanne and the actors eventually agreed - that instead of leaving the story suspended, I wanted to pretend to end it, to make it (relatively speaking) a film with a conclusion. I realized I wouldn't want to carry on with the continuation six months or a year later. It was with this in mind that I filmed the ending, whereas when we were preparing the film it was with a view it continuing afterwards. That's one thing that happened.

Another was that when we started the editing with Nicole Lubtchansky, faced by all these rushes, we started by sorting them out according to a rough chronology. I still didn't know whether I might not follow the principle of separate films during editing, but then, as we were putting it together, we soon began wanting one particular scene to come after another. We quickly realized that it didn't cut together any old how, in any order. For instance, if you put Juliet Berto's scenes one after another, or did that with Jean-Pierre Leaud's scenes or Michel Lonsdale's - something we never did, actually - it was obvious that they had to be broken up by each other, and that there was in fact another continuity in the intersection of the strands which we had to follow or find.

Some myths

Q--How exactly does the method you used differ from the traditional conceptions of cinema that are still dominant? Several more or less established notions are shaken up in a pretty radical way: 'the director', 'the script', 'the actor' and so on. How?

A--Time was, in a so-called classical tradition of cinema, when the preparation of a film meant first of all finding a good story, developing it, scripting it and writing dialogue; with that done, you found actors who suited the characters and then you shot it. This is something I've done twice, with Paris nous appatient and La Religieuse, and I found the method totally unsatisfying, if only because it involves such boredom. What I have tried since - after many others, following the precedents of Rouch, Godard and so on - is to attempt to find, alone or in company (I always set out from the desire to make a film with particular actors), a generating principle which will then, as though on its own (I stress the 'as though'), develop in an autonomous manner and engender a filmic product from which, afterwards, a film destined eventually for screening to audiences can be cut, or rather 'produced'.

Now, under all this there are several myths which should of course be flushed out one after the other and challenged.

The first aspect one very often stumbles up against, and about which there is enormous confusion, is the mythology, the myth of what has been called direct cinema, of what has even been called, in an even greater misusage, cinema-verite. Well, I don't think there is any point in putting cinema-verite on trial all over again: it's a word, a formula, which has been applied completely mistakenly, because even the films for which this formula was invented were far from corresponding to what the term implies. It isn't worth pursuing, let's just stick to the term 'direct cinema': it's more ambivalent, it's more adaptable. People have long been aware now, though they weren't always, that 'cinema direct' ... we won't say equals 'cinema lie', but that It has at any rate nothing to ao with notions of real or false. In a tech-nique, not just like any other but a technique all the same, which produces artifice by means other than those of traditional mise en scene, but which does, through its very function, produce artificiality. This artificiality is simply designated differently from other cinematic artificialities. But there is no innocence, no candor, no spontaneity attached to direct filming.

Q--Knowing all that, you use this method anyway. Why?

A--Precisely because that's where direct cinema becomes exciting; from the moment you realize it's a creator of artifice (and not, I repeat, of lies). But one which, by comparison with the traditional method, is more directly in touch with that particular artifice which constitutes the act of mise en scene, of filming.

When I say this, I'm probably exaggerating. It is quite clear that the borderline between direct cinema and the cinema of mise en scene is a false one, like the old Lumiere-Melies border. What you can say, in fact, is that there you have the two ends of the chain, but it doesn't part anywhere in the middle; you get from one end to the other through a whole series of detours, surprises, circumstances demanding adaptability. In any case, in the two films I've made 'since', I've never felt any desire to use a technique in any purist sense. On the contrary, what interested me - and if I make any more films this is the direction in which I'd like to go - was to see how, within the direct cinema method, it could be used more 'impurely'. Because, in my case anyway, it never is direct cinema properly speaking; it remains a technique very closely akin to mise en scene. To begin with, I've always worked with actors, with a comparatively precise canvas-scenario as a starting-point, and with a normal technical crew; not at all the 'wild' conditions of someone like Perrault (7), or Rouch when he made La Chasse au lion a l'arc.

New fictions

Q--Isn't there an attempt to effect a renewal of fiction here, in the shifting of responsibilities from you to the actors?


Q--Nevertheless, a threshold of intervention still exists...

A--The myth in this sort of film-making is of a creative collectivity in which everything is happy and spontaneous and everybody 'participates'. I don't think this is true. Quite the contrary, the atmosphere is usually relatively tense, because nobody knows where they are, everyone is exhausted, filmmaker, actors and technicians are all in a muddle. Nobody really knows what is going on. I think the only possible attitude in situations like this - it's what I've always tried to do, at all events - is to adopt a perspective that is beyond good or bad. You must virtually refuse, for the time being, to judge what is being shot. There are moments when you feel you're letting everything go by passing on to the next bit, and others where I suddenly find myself sticking on a detail anyway: it has to be just so, at this particular moment the character has to say such and such.

Q--Out seems to be constructed contrary to any established dramaturgic principle. The strictly fictional elements, for example, are a long time in appearing.

A--We asked ourselves this question. Nothing simpler, if we'd wanted, than to do what is almost always done in films, which is to kick off with strong dramatic elements, after which you can get the exposition out of the way. It's the old device the cinema has used almost since the beginning: any narrative activity requires the prior disposition of a certain number of elements before, by interlacing these elements with each other, crisis situations can then be reached which constitute what is traditionally called the story proper, the motor element. This is a necessity dating from the origins of all dramatic or narrative forms, and each period, each means of expression, has resolved it in a different way.

Even in L'Amour fou where it was time that created the action, which was the action - more so than in Paris nous appartient- we started in a small way, on a minor crisis: the sequence in which Bulle Ogier walks out of the company. We deliberately made the sequence rather flat, however, not dramatizing it at all. Coming back to Out, Suzanne and I decided we wouldn't use the good old method and that we'd start... in documentary fashion would be putting it too strongly, but at any rate without any dramatic elements. And since the Histoire des Treize (8) was used in the film, we thought: all right, we'll have an exposition in the manner of Balzac. Comparatively speaking, of course, but the dramatic interest of the first three or four hours is purely in the description, not so much of the settings as of the actor-characters, their variously interesting or uninteresting jobs, their different social spheres. And within this pseudo-documentary (almost documentary in certain sequences involving Lonsdale's theatrical group, which were shot as reportage), the idea was that the fiction gradually proliferates. We start off with the reportage - it's phony, of course, set up, but presented more or less as reportage - with the fiction slipping in very stealthily at first, but then beginning to proliferate until it swallows everything up and finally auto-destructs. This was the principle governing the whole of the end, where we linger on the remains, the refuse left, you might say, after fiction has been at work like this.


Q--The film makes use of a large number of pre-existing texts. ..

A--This was one of the main ingredients of the thirteen-hour version, one of the few things mentioned in the five pages we gave to the Commission du Centre in requesting our advance. (9) Actually, it remained more an intention than a fact in the film as it turned out. A lot of texts vanished en route. But others came to us along the way, ones I hadn't thought of, that I discovered during the editing.

Among the pre-existing texts there was Balzac, there were the two Aeschylus plays (10), which produced results, more or less. In theory they were to proliferate. There was Tasso, of whom little remains. The one who came along very late but became very important was Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark.

Q--And Feuillade?

A--Feuillade, of course, but I wasn't thinking so much of film texts. I'd reread Les Miserables a year previously, so what I had in mind was the 19th century popular novel. Les Mysteres de Paris, rather than Feuillade. Even what we borrowed from. Balzac hinges on three or four archetypes of the popular novel. There is for instance the idea of people living on the fringes of society, whether because they are labeled as 'artists' or because they indulge in 'marginal' activities like Jean-Pierre Leaud or Juliet Berto, or because they really are marginal, like the secret society. And the other old standby element is the secret message. As we used it, it's Jules Verne rather than Edgar Allan Poe. What I wanted was a message that could be subjected to successive readings, as in Captain Grant's Children. It's all very reminiscent and not very serious, but at the same time the mainspring of the film, the desire to make it, lay in the amusement of writing these messages. It's one of the few things I did in the film. I didn't write the dialogue, but I did take great pleasure in writing these. (11)

Q--They are motor elements in the film, not just accessories...

A--Yes, but they're decentralized motors which you don't see.

Q--Rather like your own position?


Q--What is the film about, ultimately?

A--In fact, it's about too much rather than too little. To begin with, play in all senses of the word was the only idea: the playing by the actors, the play between the characters, play in the sense that children play, and also play in the sense that there is play between the parties at an assembly. This was the basic principle, implying a relative interdependence between the elements, and a relative distance maintained by the actors between themselves and the characters they were playing. I discussed this from the start with Michele Moretti, with Bulle, with Lonsdale, in order to counteract the spuriously 'lived' aspect of L'Amour fou: each actor had to play an extremely fictional character, and theoretically maintain a considerable distance between himself and that character. In the event, there really was 'play' between the actors and the characters they were playing, and at the same time they revealed a hundred times more things about themselves than if they had been identifying with these fictional characters or were supposed to be playing their own 'characters'.

Q--Actors, one constantly feels, could never speak a written text in this way...

A--One great difference between the thirteen and four-hour versions is that in the thirteen-hour version, and not the other, we deliberately retained a number of fluffs here and there in the final cut, because there were things among these fluffs that we liked, that we found moving, that preserved the slightly perilous aspect of the project, the feel of walking on a tightrope. We left in some passages where the actors repeat themselves or get muddled, which we could have cut out. It wouldn't always have been easy, but we could have: you always can. Similarly with the very long 'reportage' sequences on Lonsdale's group: either you kept them integrally or you cut them out entirely. There are several I didn't include at all, but those we did put in 'are there in their entirety.


Q--In a normal length film, the fluffs would have looked like nulls in any case, but the film establishes other criteria for judgment. If the generative element in the thirteen-hour version is the duration itself, what is it in the four-hour version? This shorter version appears, by contrast, to be very much edited in the classical sense of the term.

A--I wanted, without knowing how, to make a film quite different from the other. I asked Denise de Casabianca(12) first of all to spend a fortnight alone with the 12-hour 40-minute film, getting to know it a little, because there was no other material. Having done that, she made a first rough cut. And it was immediately apparent that you were still held by the fictional center, which proved to be much tighter, much more compelling than I'd thought, and that there weren't umpteen solutions, there were only two. Either we could do something extremely arbitrary, with flagrant ruptures in time, breaking up the chronology, a sort of Robbe-Grillet montage. Or we could play the game of a seeming narration, which was after all the game played by the material, thus keeping a seeming chronology, no matter how patchy and wobbly it might sometimes be.

At which point the whole center of the film dug its heels in completely; and this four-and-a-quarter hour version was edited from the center outwards. We couldn't really touch this center, because there is a moment, one single shot even, in which almost all the fictions intersect, as if all these lines had to pass through a ring. This shot we put squarely in the middle: it comes just before the intermission. Having done so, we then had to keep everything relating directly to this shot before and after. After that, of course, we were a little more at liberiy for the two ends: the first and last hours.

The interesting thing with the four-hour-fifteen-minute version was to use this material which incorporated a good deal of improvisation in as precise, as tight and as formal a manner as possible. To try to find as many formal principles as possible, visible or invisible, for getting from one shot to the next. Some are very obvious, others happened by chance and we only noticed afterwards.

Q--How should one envisage the spectator relationship in Out, and what is your opinion concerning what you were saying about the impossibility or 'distanciation' in the cinema, with reference to Out and the very strong identification factor that operated - partly in a negative way - in L'Amour fou?

A--The relationship to the thirteen-hour film is a relationship totally falsified at the outset by the fact of the performance. Even in L 'Amour fou this came into play for the spectator to a certain extent - the idea of going into an auditorium and getting out four and a quarter hours later - but at least it kept within reasonable limits, it was still feasible, only a little longer than Gone with the Wind, though without the bonus of the Civil War. Whereas twelve hours forty minutes... it may not be the first time a film has run for so long, but at any rate the only equivalent in my opinion - and even then it isn't so long - is when Langlois shows a Feuillade serial at the Cinematheque, starting at six in the evening and going on till one a.m. with three little breaks. It is obvious that the first two hours of Out, for example, are bearable only because one knows one has embarked on something that is going to last for twelve hours and forty minutes. We impose three-quarters of an hour of hysteria from Lonsdale's group on people, something that can be done only under these conditions.

Ideally, I still hope the film can be shown. It wasn't in any way intended to be a difficult film, except perhaps in its length and the fact that there are moments one can call longueurs. Otherwise - perhaps it's hypocritical, but it's a hypocrisy I cling to - everything that might loom as an obstacle or flaunt its difference is rejected. Perhaps this is also a weak point, since these are often the things that certain spectators latch on to. In theory I can very well imagine the film being shown in cinemas; but precisely because it is so long, there wouldn't be any point except in suitable cinemas where people can be not too uncomfortably seated, where they can breathe, and that are big enough to house a sizeable audience. It is 16mm, but it was made with the big screen in mind: it has a meaning on the big screen which it wouldn't have on the small screen. Even visually it is composed of elements implying a massive image - a monumentality is putting it too grandly but that's it nevertheless.

This struck me at each of the screenings we had for television with five or six people present. Even if people liked it, I felt the relationship to the film was wrong, because it is first and foremost theatre. It is performances up there on the screen, mise en scene in the theatrical sense of staging rather than in the film sense.

Q--How could one define the particular narrative form that interests you here? Or to put it more generally: how does this film contribute along with other films (which ones, in your opinion?) to the attempt, fairly widespread in spite of everything even though still very limited, to bring about a renewal of fiction, and indeed of the cinema as a whole?

A--What I'd like is to discover a cinema where the narrative element doesn't necessarily play the driving role. I don't say It would be completely eliminated, I think that's impossible: if you throw narrative out by the door, it comes back through the window. What I mean is that in the cinema I have in mind it wouldn't be in the driving seat, and the principal priorities on the screen would be purely spectacular ones, in the strict sense of the word. That's why, when I say I'd like this film to be shown on a big screen with an audience of five hundred people, it isn't at all because it tells a story where spectators are caught up by a plot, as in a Hitchcock film; my motive is purely plastic, allied to a certain status of the image and sound.

But let's talk in general about the cinema I'm after, of which there are better examples around at the moment: examples of films which impose themselves on the spectator through a sort of domination of visual and sound 'events', and which require the screen, a big screen, to be effective. In the final analysis, all the films that have impressed me recently are films in which, in very different ways, this fact of a narrative spectacle comes into play: Fellini, Jancso, Werner Schroeter's Salome. And for me it's very important even in films where this 'spectacular' quality seems less obvious, as in Othon, or Le moindre geste (13), or Tati's films of course. These are films that impose themselves visually through their monumentality. I'm using the word monumental simply because I can't think of another offhand. What I mean is that there is a weight to what is on the screen, and which is there on the screen as a statue might be, or a building or a huge beast. And this weight is perhaps what Barthes would call the weight of the signifier, though I wouldn't go to the stake on that ...

These are films that tend towards the ritual, towards the ceremonial, the oratorio, the theatrical, the magical, not in the mystical so much as the more devotional sense of the word as in the celebration of Mass.Technique and Rite, as Jancso has it, is a good definition. These words should be explored to try to see what lies behind them: rite or ceremony or monumental. One would probably first find what Barthes and Ricardou have been pointing out for years: in films, as in texts and in theatrical per-formances, the accent should be placed on the elements in which the spectacle itself (or the fiction) is represented.

But this isn't enough to account for the element of violence, of affirmation without evidence, of erotic power, which I'm trying to express when I talk of monumentality and when I think back on these few films.

Q--The spectator at Out finds himself faced by a vast, very unusual 'machinery'. What does this machinery set in motion?

A--A film is always presented in a closed form: a certain number of reels which are screened in a certain order, a beginning, an end. Within this, all these phenomena can occur of circulating meanings, functions and forms; moreover, these phenomena can be incomplete, not finally determined once and for all. This isn't simply a matter of tinkering, of something mechanical constructed from the outside, but rather - to refer back to what I was saying at the beginning - of something that has been 'generated' which seems to entail biological factors. It isn't a matter of making a film or a work that exhausts its coherence, that closes in on itself; it must continue to function, and to create new meanings, directions and feelings.

Here one comes back to the Barthes definition. I refer to Barthes a good deal, but I find that he speaks more lucidly than anyone else at the present time about this kind of problem... and he says: there is a text from the moment one can say: things are circulating. To me it is evident that this potential in the cinema is allied to the semblance of monumentality we were just talking about. What I mean is that on the screen the film presents a certain number of events, objects, characters in quotes, which are closed in on themselves, turned inward, exactly as a statue can be, presenting themselves without immediately stating an identity, and which simultaneously establish comings-and-goings, echoes, among one another.

Tati, Fellini, Jancso ...

Q--Is there a connection between these elements and the fact that these films lack a central character, a protagonist?

A--Yes, it is almost always groups that are involved, and this is a further link to the idea of ritual, of ceremony. If, at a pinch, there is an individual at the ceremony, it can only be the priest, someone who is never anything but the delegate, the representative of some community. But I don't think this tendency in the cinema entirely obviates the possibility of a central protagonist. For example, I put Straub's Othon in the same category (yet it's a play which plays more than other Corneille dramas on the impossibility of saying who is 'the' hero; there is no one interlocutor, one purveyor of truth in Othon, which isn't Le Cid or Polyeucte - the role circulates freely). Another example I include in the cinema of monumentality is Le moindre geste by Deligny and Daniel. On screen there is a protagonist who is present for nine-tenths of the film, but this protagonist is someone with whom identification is strictly precluded, because he is by clinical definition a mental defective, and "he is there on the screen purely as a physical presence, or on the soundtrack purely as an utterance detached from the physical presence, disconnected, first of all because these are fragments of tapes recorded independently of the visuals (and therefore not synchronous), but also because this utterance is itself aberrant in the literal sense of the word. Another film I'd place in the same category, perhaps mistakenly, is Tati's Traffic. Now there is a protagonist in Traffic, and it's Hulot; but at the same time it's quite obvious that the process which had already started in Monsieur Hulot's Holiday is accentuated here, whereby Hulot no longer runs the conveyor belt, he is swept along by the fiction in almost precisely the same way as Fellini is swept along by Roma. You see Hulot wandering by from time to time in the background of his film, just as Fellini passes by suddenly wandering around in his Roma. Well, is one thing a consequence of the other? I have no idea. And one of the things I'm interested in now is to remake a film which has a strong, totally present central character - therefore one who is proposed as a vehicle, as operating the conveyor belt - and see what this contradiction would do to him.

I think it might be a pity, within a cinema of 'signification' - to employ this neologism - to abandon completely something that was so exciting in that traditional cinema: this play with the protagonist, the so-called central character, the Hitchcockian-Langian play on the phony central consciousness and all that this allows. But perhaps they are incompatible: it remains to be seen.

Another common factor in all these films - to my mind the only ones of any importance for several years - is the categorical refusal in practically all of them to use written dialogue. A refusal which doesn't always happen in the same way, however, and doesn't produce the same results. Broadly speaking, what I see in common is their refusal to write a text themselves which the actors will then interpret, the refusal to have the actors become interpreters of dialogue written beforehand which one has either written oneself or at any rate is responsible for. As to how to proceed from here, there are different solutions...

I won't say they're equivalent, some are undoubtedly more powerful than others. These consist either of asking the actors to find their own words, or of giving the actors pre-existing texts for which one isn't oneself responsible: the author of the text is antecedent, the author of the text is challenged in a sense, because either it's Corneille (though as 'matter') in the case of Straub, or, in the technique that Godard has used more and more systematically, the author of the text is multiple, this being what has been called the technique of quotations. But these aren't quotations, because the important point in the sequence of Jean-Luc's films came when he began removing the quotation marks and the names of the authors, thus not wanting to be the author of his scripts and wanting these texts coming from all over the place to lose their authorship. This method has I think been taken up again in part by Jancso, in so far as Jancso uses songs a good deal- pre-existing material, of course - and I think that in the moments with dialogue, or so I felt while watching Red Psalm, he draws extensively and very systematically on real militant texts, historical or contemporary. And I believe that Hernady's (14) job is increasingly becoming a matter of collages, on the same principle as Godard though perhaps not quite so extreme.

Other solutions to this rejection of scripted dialogue: it can be Tati, unintelligible dialogue where all one hears is snatches of speech; it can be the Taviani Brothers (15); it can be Daniel, who takes previously recorded tapes, which moreover carry speech having no fixed reference in the fiction and being completely erratic as speech. The only great exception I can see is Bergman. All the same I feel very inclined to put The Rite with the cinema of monumentality and signification, and nothing could be more scripted than that.

Q--Or even over-written, like Resnais.

A--Resnais, actually, is someone who has always worked with written texts, very highly written even, but with the purpose of not writing them himself. For Resnais, as for Godard, there is purpose in using someone else's text, a text of which he isn't the author, the signatory. One could perhaps salvage Bergman simply as a sort of monster, a perfect schizo. Bergman is dual, like Jekyll/Hyde. There is a Bergman who writes a script, then a Bergman who films the script, and they aren't the same. In The Rite, the words carried by the images are not filmed for their meaning but rather for their materiality, as events and not as meanings. The same is true of the 'strong beat' moments in Duras' films. Yes, I think that's the basis for everything: to treat the text as material which plays a role exactly similar to the other materials in the film: the actors' faces, their gestures, the photographic texture.

Q--But can the signified carried by this text-material be a matter of indifference?

A--I think one can say of the signified what we were saying earlier about narrative: it's something that inevitably reappears anyway. Knowing it will reappear, one might as well try to have it circulate as much as possible, to use Barthes' phrase. I think what all these filmmakers are trying to do is to have the signifieds that are present be caught up and carried in the general movement of the signifiers. This seems to me glaringly obvious in Jancso's films. I know too little about the Hungarian context of these films to be able to tell whether some things may not well have a more precise function there than here, with respect to the situation in Hungary.

Recreation and Terror

All the same, I think that Jancso's prime ambition is not to play cat and mouse with the State system as a whole: it seems to me a very partial view to see them as films playing on ambiguity, playing on the questioning of certain political values, inasmuch as he in fact spends his time playing on the rearrangement of labels. What struck me about both Sirocco and Technique and Rite, in so far as objectively they are perhaps the least 'successful' though not the least fascinating of his recent films, is their element of juvenile play. These are ten-year old children playing at spies or at war just like cops and robbers (or like Le Petit Soldat: Godard again). In all these Jancso films it is really recreation time: the children are in the playground during break between classes, dividing up into groups, forming into rings, it's the political game to the letter: politics as a game, a game as politics, with the whole arsenal of revolutionary signifieds congealed, put back into circulation. And when I say juvenile, it isn't meant pejoratively in any way, this may be a partial view of Jancso's films, but it's more and more how I see them. Recreation time, but in the widest sense of the word; as Cocteau said, 'When a child leaves the classroom, we say it is for re-creation', I think this is the value of Jancso's films: within a revolutionary state, he plays the role of re-creation.

Q--Aren't we coming back to the problem of pleasure in the cinema?

A--Yes, but pleasure has never been absent.

Q--Hasn't there been a tendency to minimize its importance on pseudo-scientific grounds? Now the idea that it is an important factor is being rediscovered.

A--But this idea of a game, of pleasure, is also found in Renoir, it's found in Rouch, it's found in Godard.

Q--Isn't it to be found in Brecht too, but oriented towards the spectator? And during the period of the formation of the Berliner Ensemble, particularly...

A--Yes, the whole last part of the Little Organum is concerned with this. Anyhow, pleasure is contrary to what I call journalistic films - in the derogatory sense of the term - whose only merit is to provide information that is already out of date, and very often don't even do that.

One must be careful, though: the inflated notions about pleasure and entertainment over recent years have been very confused, because this can very quickly lead to the attitude that anything goes. All it takes is to smoke a little, acquire the right euphoric state, and one can get pleasure out of looking at or listening to absolutely anything. Some films seem to me to be made purely with a view to narcissistic pleasure, totally without productivity: if one doesn't bring along one's own euphoria, the films themselves produce nothing. So I am inclined to continue defending films which are themselves the producers of pleasure.

Then again this pleasure or - why not? - this ecstasy (16) of the spectator's isn't necessarily connected with euphoria; it can tend more in the direction of ... let's not say work - which is a large word that has been much abused (and one mustn't confuse the work of the spectator or of the signifier with other forms of work) - but this pleasure in fact passes through certain stages, certain periods, which can equally well be attentiveness, perplexity, irritation or even boredom. For me, the most powerful pleasure in cinema - and this is something that interests me more and more, and I don't know if it can be related to this cinema of signification, of monumentality, that we were talking about - is connected with terror and anguish. For some years now I have been re-fascinated by horror films. And in Out this was something I hadn't planned at all at the outset. Initially we thought it was going to be very jolly, and we started out with the actors by criticizing L' Amour fou for its element of anguish, of psychodrama - psychosis, even - saying well, it won't be like that this time but just a jolly game with serial-type fiction; but very soon an element of anguish crept into the film (rather than the actual shooting). So even in a film where anguish hadn't been planned, it reappeared, to such an extent that my editors said to me: 'Now you should really make a horror film...' But perhaps they were hoping that might be fun to edit...


1. Mediterranee: a medium-length film by Jean-Daniel Pollet with a text by Philippe Sollers. A series of images, filmed in various countries around the Mediterranean (a Sicilian garden, a Greek temple, a fisherman, a young girl on an operating table), reappear throughout the film, in a different order each time, held for different lengths of time, constituting a sort of mythical narrative in which each image serves as something like an ideogram. The order of these shots was not predetermined before shooting but established, by trial and error, in the montage.

2.About Something Else: a Czech film by Vera Chytilova, comprising two parallel stories (one about a gymnast training for a competition, the other about a housewife). These two narratives never meet but are articulated together by a very complex formal interplay of oppositions and connections of various kinds (sound, gesture, rhythm, etc.)

3.La Vie conjugale: two films by Andre Cayatte released simultaneously, each telling the story of a couple, one from the woman's point of view, and the other from the man's.

4.Associate in various guises (script-girl, assistant director, production assistant) of Truffaut and Godard; played an important role in the preparation and shooting of OUT.

5.The actors contacted were left a very considerable margin of freedom in the choice of their characters and how they developed.

6.A theatrical group, experienced in the techniques of improvisation and the psychodrama, whose productions included Les Bargasses and Les Idoles. Among the members were Bulle Ogier, Pierre Clementi, Jean-Pierre Kalfon.

7.French-Canadian film-maker (Pour la suite du monde, Le Regne du jour, Le Voitures d'eau), working on confrontations between real life characters and more or less arbitrary situations. The unusual 'fictions' deriving from these confrontations are the result of an enormous amount of work at the editing stage, classifying, selecting and rearranging a considerable quantity of raw material.

8.A secret society founded in Paris under the Empire by 'thirteen men all haunted by the same feeling, all endowed with sufficient energy to adhere to the same opinion, all mutually honest enough not to betray each other, even though their interests lay in opposing directions, profoundly political enough to hide the sacred ties that united them, strong enough to place themselves above all laws, bold enough to undertake and fortunate enough to have almost invariably succeeded in their designs (...); having achieved mutual acceptance of each other exactly as they were, irrespective of any social prejudice (...) and recruiting only among men of excellent merit (...), all fatalists, men of great heart and tender poesy, but bored with the dreary lives they were leading' (Balzac. preface to The History of the Thirteen). This principle of the secret society is one of the motors constituting the fiction of Out, the relationships between the characters in the film being defined in terms of their membership or otherwise (or their supposed membership) of this society.

9.The Commission du Centre national du Cinema grants to a certain number of films on submission of the scenario, an advance that is in principle supposed to be repaid out of receipts when the film is released. In fact this advance is decisive in determining the fate of a number of projects which would otherwise never reach fruition.

10.In Out, two theatre groups, one directed by Michel Lonsdale and the other by Michele Moretti, are working on plays by Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes and Prometheus Bound.

11.Secret messages circulate in the film which one of the characters, Colin (Jean-Pierre Leaud), attempts to decode with a view to establishing contact with the Thirteen and their organization.

12.With the exception of Rivette himself, naturally, the teams who edited the two versions were different.

13.A film by Jean-Pierre Daniel and Fernand Deligny: see below.

14.Regular scriptwriter on Miklos Jancso's recent films.

15.Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Italian directors, notably of Sotto il Segno dello Scorpione.

16.Cf. Barthes' discussion of plaisir and jouissance in Le plaisir du texte (The Pleasure of the Text). (Ed.)

Originally appeared in La Nouvelle Critique No. 63 (244), April 1973. Translated by Tom Milne. Published in this form in Jacques Rivette: Texts and Interviews (British Film Institute, 1977).