Friday, February 15, 2008

Tuneful Rivette: Haut Bas Fragile

The brilliant Jacques Rivette's latest film, The Duchess of Langeais, opens next weekend in NYC. The film is a period romance, adapted from a story by Balzac, about a doomed relationship. Rivette is one of the most underrated of French filmmakers — despite having started as part of the inner core of the New Wave, his work is incredibly hard to see in America, with all of his films up through the early '80s unavailable at the current time on DVD. Thus, I offer up a sequence from one of the MIA features, his "musical," Haut bas fragile(1995). The film is a joyfully self-conscious affair that continues in the lineage of Godard's Une Femme Est Une Femme, offering stars who can only mildly carry a tune acting out the most blissful of movie-musical cliches as they sashay around the set. In this scene, Marianne Denicourt (who had "the Audrey Tautou look" when Tautou herself was still a schoolgirl) and Natalie Richard break into a song and dance. For further info on the great Rivette, I refer you to this terrific web resource:
The Order of the Exile: Jacques Rivette

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