The French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague) still remains one of the most influential and innovative movements in the history of film. When you think of those associated with the movement, Jacques Rivette is not the first name that springs to mind. Compared with Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Jacques Demy, Agnes Varda, Alain Resnais, Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol, Rivette is a virtual unknown. However, with a catalogue of films including la belle noiseuse, l’amour fou, Celine et Julie Go Boating and va savoir he deserves to be considered up there with the best.

Arrow release the Jacques Rivette Collection (limited edition) today which brings together some of his more experimental work:

Out 1, noli me tangere
Out 1: Spectre
Duelle
Noroît
Merry-Go-Round

Duelle and Noroît were originally meant to be part of four films (scenes from a parallel life) of different genres. Duelle is a film noir and Noroît is a pirate film. The other two were going to be a love story and a musical but Rivette had a nervous breakdown whilst filming the third and they never got made.

Duelle is an experimental fantasy where the Queen of the Night (Juliet Berto) and the Queen of the Sun (Bulle Ogier) do battle over a magic diamond in present day Paris. This is all played out as an engaging and sometimes puzzling detective story and delves into the theme of being pawns which is picked up in the next film.

Noroît is a loose re-imagining of Middleton’s Revenger’s Tragedy. On an island, Giulia (Bernadette Lafont) leads a band of pirates. Morag (Geraldine Chaplin) vows revenge for the death of her brother who was murdered by Giulia, infiltrates their castle stronghold posing as a bodyguard. With the help of Erika (Kika Markham) who’s a spy they wait for their chance. Noroît is a fantasy pirate adventure where women take the lead. It’s the best film on the set and one of Rivette’s best films.

The weakest film in the set, Merry-Go-Round, is a story of kidnap and betrayal. Léo (Maria Schneider) and Ben (Joe Dallesandro) are summoned to Paris by Elizabeth (Danièle Gégauff), her sister and his lover. When they arrive she is nowhere to be find, and the pair have to form an uncomfortable alliance in order to track her down. Merry-Go-Round is a mystery and borders on the surreal at times. It doesn’t really work as a whole but it has its moments.

Last, and by no means least, his magnum opus; Out 1. Conceived originally as a series of eight feature length episodes it spans a mammoth 773 minutes and is rarely shown in full. Indeed, Rivette himself edited it down to a four hour feature, Out: Spectre. It’s a serious of loosely connected stories and characters all centred on the theme of actors performing a play. It stars the likes of Jean-Pierre Léaud, Juliet Berto Michel Berto and Michele Moretti, owes a debt to Balzac and is a loose and experimental as the music which penetrates all these films.

Limited edition contents:

  • Limited Edition Collection [3,000 Copies]
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of all films from brand new 2K restorations of the films with Out 1 supervised by cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn
  • Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays)
  • Optional newly-translated English subtitles for all films
  • The Mysteries of Paris: Jacques Rivette’s Out 1 Revisited – a brand-new feature length documentary by Robert Fischer and Wilfried Reichart containing interviews with actors Bulle Ogier, Michael Lonsdale and Hermine Karagheuz, cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn, assistant director Jean-François Stévenin and producer Stéphane Tchalgadjieff, as well as rare archival interviews with actors Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and Michel Delahaye, and director Jacques Rivette
  • Scenes from a Parallel Life: Jacques Rivette Remembers – archive interview with the director, in which he discusses Duelle (une quarantaine), Noroît (une vengeance) and Merry-Go-Round, featuring additional statements from Bulle Ogier and Hermine Karagheuz
  • Brand-new interview with critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, who reported from the sets of both Duelle (une quarantaine) and Noroît (une vengeance)
  • Exclusive book containing new writing on the films by Mary M. Wiles, Brad Stevens, Ginette Vincendeau and Nick Pinkerton


The Jacques Rivette Collection is released on Dual Format by Arrow today.