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R.I.P. Jacques Rivette (1928 – 2016)

R.I.P. Jacques Rivette (1928 – 2016)

Acclaimed and beloved French filmmaker Jacques Rivette has passed away at the age of 87, and while it’s a sad day for cinephiles, the director’s work will not soon be forgotten.

READ MORE: Review: Jacques Rivette’s Newly Restored Masterpiece ‘Out 1’

Long associated and considered a key figure of the French New Wave, like many filmmakers of that movement such as François Truffaut, Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol, the filmmaker cut this teeth working as a writer for the influential movie magazine Cahiers du Cinema, and it wasn’t long before he moved into making movies himself, staring with 1961’s “Paris Belongs To Us.”

However, it was Rivette’s following efforts that would establish is penchant for lengthy, narratively experimental films led by the nearly 13-hour opus “Out 1” (finally released recently in the U.S. by Kino Lorber after being long unavailable), the four-hour “La Belle Noiseuse,” the three-hour plus “Celine and Julie Go Boating,” and more. His works made demands of the viewer, and while he never ascended to the same popularity as other filmmakers of the French New Wave, his admirers were no less ardent.

“What’s important for me in a film is that it be alive, that it be imbued with presence….And that this presence, inscribed within the film, possesses a form of magic. There’s something profoundly mysterious in this. It’s an alchemy that one procures, or does not. Early in the shoot, anything’s still possible, but once you’ve made two or three steps, already you have to follow the course that the film has taken. But that’s what’s interesting. It’s a collective work, but one wherein there’s a secret, too. For that matter, the actor has his secrets as well — of which the director is the spectator,” Rivette told Les Inrockuptibles in 2007 (via Cinemasparagus).
“I think that the story of a film always ends when you talk about it,” the director added.

So perhaps the best tribute to the director today would be to pause the conversation, dim the lights, and put on one of his films.

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