Saturday, October 19, 2013

Jacques Rivette's "OUT 1: Noli me Taneger" released on Absolut Medien

One of the rarest major works of the past four decades by a director without whom there'd likely be no David Lynch or Charlie Kaufman, the operator in the shadows of the French New Wave, Jacques Rivette. Best known in English speaking cultural spheres for his dreamy, non-sequitur, political, feminist, "Celine and Julie Go Boating" along with "Le Pont du Nord" of a decade later, which has seen a lot of press in the subsequent year since the rerelease of a new restored print in theaters, like that of Max Nelson's "Rep Diary: Le Pont du Nord" for Film Comment. The parallels between Rivette and Lynch's work made explicit in Dennis Lim's "A Winding Trip Reverberates in Cinema" and the rediscovery off his film seen as a path forward for all of contemporary cinema in David Thomson's "Come and See" for Sight & Sound. For many cineastes though, certainly fans of the New Wave, Rivette's "OUT 1: Noli me Tangere" represents THE holy grail. A nearly thirteen hour loose (this is the New Wave after all) adaptation of Balzac’s "L'Histoire des Treize" from his "La Comédie Humaine" like that of "Celine..." and "Le Pont..." the film centers on Rivette's central obsessions: conspiracy, community, theater, games, multiple personifications, illusion and madness. The extended duration, oblique themes and non-linear dreamlike construction no doubt working against it's larger release, even in the more conducive cultural/cinema environs of the early 1970's. So much so that "OUT 1: Noli me Tangere" has been screened in it's totality on so few occasions, that they can be counted here. When French television turned down the complete thirteen hour version, Rivette created a four hour reconstruction, "OUT 1: Spectre" which focuses more intensively on the intertwining tales of the two featured rival theater companies and central mysterious Cabal. Literally one of the only chances to see it that decade, (on home video, online, in the theater, or otherwise), this shorter reconstructed version screened at Northwest Film Forum as part of their "Lighter Than Air: The Films of Jacques Rivette" retrospective in 2007. The mythic, ultra-obscure, 'unviewable' status now ends for this significant work in the whole of the New Wave's ouvreur with Absolut Medien's box set release of "OUT 1: Noli me Tangere / Spectre".