Saturday, June 25, 2011


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.


Albert Hebels said...

Regarding your comment on Bulle Ogier, please try to see the movie La Salamandre, by Alain Tanner(1971).
Kind greetings,
Albert Hebels, the Netherlands

celinejulie said...

Thank you very much for your suggestion. I saw LA SALAMANDRE a few years ago (after I had written the old comment above) and I like it a lot. I think Bulle Ogier's role in LA SALAMANDRE is one of her best roles, and I also like Alain Tanner very much.