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PARIS BELONGS TO US

Director: JACQUES RIVETTE

FRANCE • 1961 • SUBTITLED • BLACK AND WHITE • 35MM • 140 MIN


One of the most admired of Cahiers du cinema’s critics, Jacques Rivette was also one of the first to make the move into filmmaking with this dark and complex exploration of Paris’ bohemian underground. Completed over three years in piecemeal fashion, it concerns a literature student from the provinces who becomes involved in the Parisian artistic circle of her brother’s friends. One member of the group has committed suicide, but a paranoid American novelist insists the death is the work of a secret organisation plotting world domination. Then a theatre director rehearsing a production of Shakespeare’s Pericles threatens suicide too. The device of a play-within-a-film has recurred throughout Rivette’s long career and here it enables the director to explore the fluid boundaries between reality and artifice, and to playfully comment on his own fiction. While the paranoia is very much of the Cold War era, the thrust of Rivette’s doom-laden drama is about our need for connections and explanations to make sense of our world, and how our uncertainties filter through into artistic expression.

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