Outside of mother/daughter relationships you seldom find two female leads in mainstream cinema. This thankfully seems to be changing, albeit far too slowly, with Paul Feig leading the way in actually giving female actresses good starring roles. ‘World’ and independent cinema has generally been more liberal, but there are few double acts as convincing as Bulle and Pascale Ogier in Jacques Rivette’s Le Pont du Nord.
Marie (Bulle) has just got out of prison and is searching for her former lover Julien (Pierre Clémenti) in Paris. Her path repeatedly crosses with a young vagrant (Baptiste – Pascale) who has a penchant for karate and slashing the eyes out of posters. When Marie comes into possession of Julien’s suitcase the pair set-off on an odyssey across the city in an attempt to solve the riddles contained within.
Le Pont du Nord marks the end of Rivertte’s middle period and is a culmination of much of his earlier work. Set against the backdrop of an eighties Paris under construction, it stands as a turning point in Rivette’s career. Starring a mother and daughter pairing and a plethora of mysterious men called Max, Le Pont du Nord is a sprawling opus of French New Wave cinema. It’s fascinating, oddly troubling and mysteriously layered.
Le Pont du Nord is released on Dual Format by Eureka as part of their Masters of Cinema collection on Monday.