Archive for Bulle Ogier

Rivette the Rosier

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on February 2, 2016 by dcairns


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?


Les Filles de Feu

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on December 5, 2007 by dcairns

“Scènes de la vie parallèle…” 

My last couple of entries were pretty silly, maybe because I just saw Jacques Rivette’s DUELLE (UNE QUARANTAINE) and my brain fell off. There’s no way I’m going to formulate any coherent thoughts about this film for some time, and coherent thoughts probably couldn’t do justice to it anyway, so here are some INCOHERENT ones:

The goddesses of the sun and moon compete to obtain The Fairy Godmother, a magic gem, in modern Paris.


The music is provided by a pianist improvising along with the action. That may be how Neil Young scored DEAD MAN, but he wasn’t visible IN the film, doing it. Here, Jean Wiener the old chap at the ivories, is clearly visible in the background of shots, tinkling away in bars, dance halls and hotel rooms. I was hoping he’d turn up in the aquarium too, but I guess that was ruled too obviously weird.

Lots of creaking in this film! As the dolly trundles over wooden floors, a cacophony of straining wood announces its presence. Since the film has a very live soundtrack, there was obviously no way to eliminate these extraneous sounds, so they kind of make a mild virtue of them. The camera movements, couples with the moves of the actors, are extremely elegant and elaborate, and the symphony of sounds that accompany them all can be seen as atmosphere.

duelle to the death

Awesome costumes all round. The romance of 1976, with added ‘thirties vibe, plus MASSIVE sunglasses; veils; many hats; a silver-tipped cane and a magic gemstone activated by drops of blood…

Jean Babilée is an amazing physical presence, not just when he does his acrobatic feats, but just in his general movements, which are all like dance, even when maybe he’s just moving around so you can’t see how short he is next to the women.

“I love the artist’s use of the colour blue,” – Ryan O’Neal in BARRY LYNDON.

Jean Wiener’s daughter, Elizabeth, turns up briefly. I only know her from Clouzot’s pop-art psychodrama LA PRISONIERRE, which deserves to be more widely seen. A gripping tale of kinky sexual shenanigans among the kinetic art set.

Both DUELLE and LA PRISONIERRE are available only from France, without English subtitles. Being linguistically handicapped, I experienced both films thanks to live translation from the multilingual Mr. David Wingrove, who acted as what the Japanese might call a Benshi, or film describer. He was constantly wondering if DUELLE’s dialogue seemed incoherent because of the wine he’d drunk, or because it really did make very little conventional sense. By the end he was assured of the latter.

DW didn’t have time to translate the accompanying mini-documentary, but I noticed they showed a DUELLE poster in between images from GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES and MULHOLLAND DRIVE, which seemed almost right…