Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jacques Rivette's "La Bande des quatre" (1988)


Not only a "double inconstance" ("double inconsistency") but infinite of them. "Il y a des choses derrière les choses" ("There are things behind things") in Jacques Rivette's La Bande des Quatre (English title: Gang of Four).


Consciously and wisely artificial, the line between acting and reality is never even drawn. There are no clear meanings, not a theme you can put your finger on, but a simple question such as "Coffee?" has such infinite weight that it can easily bring tears, tears coming from somewhere I didn't even know existed.


There is a sense of magic, of something supernatural, even though what we see is very realistic and rational... Is art, or existence itself, a sorcery?


Just as in theatre, in cinema, or in life, it's impossible to know where the truth, or the beauty, lies. But in La Bande des quatre the answer is given by Constance (first in original French, then my English translation):
"La démolition. C'est avec ça que vous avez à faire. Tout le temps. La démolition et le doute... C'est avec ça que vous devez construire, créer, inventer..."

"Demolition. That's what you have to do with. All the time. Demolition and doubt... It's with these that you have to build, create, invent..."


In Rivette's case, what results is a free cinema, liberating the mind, and the eyes, forcing the viewer (the participant) to understand a new way of composing the world, a whole new restructuring...


La Bande des quatre might easily be the most wonderfully acted film I've ever seen, each actress (or actor) constantly creating wonders, certainly helped by Rivette's free mind.

4 comments:

jef said...

"La démolition. C'est avec ça que vous avez à faire. Tout le temps. La démolition et le doute... C'est avec ça que vous devez construire, créer, inventer..."
Indeed I regard this scene as the crux of the whole film.
Leaving the old self behind 'a la vestière...'

Yoel Meranda said...

i agree. although it does not directly refer to any of the main characters, the scene has a weight that seem to expand the meanings in the film...

thanks also for noting the 'vestière', i really like the ingenious play on words in that scene, just as i love the play on 'la seine' at the very beginning, perfectly setting the tone for the rest...

did she throw the key to 'la seine' (the river), or to 'la scène' (the stage)? and what does the key symbolize? other than itself?

Anonymous said...

Indeed, Jef! In fact, I was looking precisely for this quote. When the film came out, I watched it thirteen times in a row, and it never left me since - contrary to Rivette's later work.

Rio Prince said...
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