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Jean-Pierre Léaud: The New Wave and After

Sunday, February 17, 2008
1:00 p.m. Out 1: Spectre
Jacques Rivette (France, 1973)

“Very rarely seen, this is the ‘short’ version of the 12-hour Out 1. In editing out a more modest film, Rivette tried to make something as unlike the original as possible. Nevertheless, Spectre is one of the greatest achievements in the cinema of duration and narrative pattern. As much an admirer of Lang as of Renoir, Rivette sought to combine ‘storyness’ with the most evident virtues of real time. His films begin to respond to the affinity between real life and movie—going on, nearly forever, free and open to any event—while gradually guiding this mass of material towards the kinds of design that we, the viewers or the readers, cannot help but see. Out 1: Spectre begins as nothing more than scenes from Parisian life; only as time goes by do we realize that there is a plot—perhaps playful, perhaps sinister—that implicates not just the thirteen characters (including Léaud, as the mystery’s self-styled detective), but maybe everyone, everywhere. Real life may be nothing but an enormous yarn someone somewhere is spinning.”

—David Thomson

• Written by Rivette, Suzanne Schiffman, based on L’histoire des treize by Balzac. Photographed by Pierre-William Glenn. With Jean-Pierre Léaud, Juliet Berto, Bulle Ogier, Bernadette Lafont. (240 mins plus 10 min intermission, In French with English electronic subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Sunshine Films)