Moi, Pierre Riviere…

Director: Rene Allio

France| 1975| 130 mins

Based on documents compiled by Michel Foucault, this film is a uniquely original meditation on a gruesome 19th century crime. The story happens in a Normandy village in 1835, as a very young man, Riviere, murders his mother, sister and brother before running away to the countryside. This matricide and the trial that followed is narrated by several voiceovers, which allow one to absorb the violence and to understand the psychological background of the criminal. The written confession of Riviere himself becomes one of the voices, providing his version of the truth. Riviere was convinced that his mother was weakening and humiliating his father – and his words on this subject are deeply disturbing.
The cast, mostly villagers found in the places where the events had taken place 150 years before, creates an interesting atmosphere of hyperrealism. Rene Allio accomplishes the unique feat of producing an (almost) ethnographic document, an historical film, and an inquiry into a psychopathological case.

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