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Paris Nous Appartient 12 rating

Remarkable first feature from cinematic visionary Jacques Rivette, brilliantly capturing the mood of paranoia and uncertainty of the Cold War period.

Drama 1961 142 mins

Director: Jacques Rivette

Overview

The remarkable first feature from the great cinematic visionary Jacques Rivette, probably the least known of the major French New Wave directors.

Anne, a student in Paris, becomes involved with a group of her brother's arty friends and gets sucked into a mystery involving Philip, an expatriate American escaping McCarthyism; Terry, a self-destructive femme fatale; theatre director Gerard; and Juan, a Spanish activist who apparently committed suicide, but was he murdered? Philip warns Anne that the forces that killed Juan will soon do the same to Gerard, who is struggling to rehearse Shakespeare's Pericles. Anne takes a part in the play in an attempt to help him and also discover why Juan died. Rivette started making his first feature in 1957 and completed it slowly over a period of two years, as money allowed. Finally released in 1961, Paris nous appartient brilliantly captured the mood of paranoia and uncertainty of that Cold War period. Rivette's rarely seen debut is one of the most important and far-reaching of the early New Wave films. Rivette's disquieting film, suffused with sexual and political tension, is as much about its setting a long-vanished Paris full of fleabag hotels and corduroy-clad intellectuals as about its story. It features guest appearances from fellow New Waver directors Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Demy, a striking musique concrète score, and stunning cinematography in black and white, which manages to be luminous and ominous at the same time.