Rivette the Rosier
First up — the Indiegogo campaign for THE NORTHLEACH HORROR is going great — but that doesn’t mean you are exempt! More contributions greatly appreciated.
Second up — more limericks at Limerwrecks, of a vampiric nature — NOSFERATU, THE VAMPIRE BAT (with Surly Hack) and also a solo one, and on bats in general, taking in BRIDES OF DRACULA and KISS OF THE VAMPIRE.
Third up — like a lot of people, I have been revisiting Rivette in the wake of his passing from this corporeal plane. I’d never watched LA BANDE DES QUATRE, so I did, and by coincidence it features a character who calls her parents in Limerick, so it all ties together, doesn’t it?
This is one of Rivette’s long film about life and theatre — the four leads are female drama students on an exclusive course run by Bulle Ogier. There’s a mysterious man hanging around them, whose stories don’t add up. And there’s an invisible dancing ghost in one room of the suburban house they share. Rivette on ghosts and magic is fascinating — it seems pretty clear he really believes in them, unlike nearly everyone else who makes films about those kinds of things. I mean, Del Toro I think has said he’s had supernatural experiences, but his films are so stylised there’s no question of him bringing his true-life encounters to bear on his cinema. Rivette’s languorous mise-en-scene makes the most sense when it’s dreamily, eerily but casually evoking the numinous and occult, and in a way the electrifying effect of these scenes (here, and in DUELLE, and in L’HISTOIRE DE MARIE ET JULIENNE) justifies the slow, relaxed approach elsewhere. Rivette films everything as if it was a supernatural encounter.
Here are some interstitial moments from LA BANDE DES QUATRE, what the ancients of cinema used to call PHANTOM RIDES, which contrive to make Paris look haunted, haunting, desolate, unreal and undead. A film made from a spirit’s-eye-view. Aren’t they all?