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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:33 pm 
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BlurayDefinition review


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:48 am 
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manicsounds wrote:
The Blue Ray Definition reviewer seems WAY offbase. This is a great looking release (not to mention vastly better than anything previously available -- such as the previous French video).


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:19 am 
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Any review that uses the word "gritty" no fewer than three times should automatically be regarded with suspicion.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:53 am 
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Well I guess this means I'll be going region-free as soon as possible.

Saw a beautifully restored print at the Harvard Film Archive over the weekend with the wife (her first Rivette), and we both fell head over heels. This has to be one of the great endings, without question (though I hear OUT 1 offers some competition in that regard).

I remember reading a Rosenbaum piece (perhaps from his Film: The Front Line collection?) in which he alluded to a very specific political climate that had informed the film, beyond simply a sense of post-68 disillusionment. The briefcase articles certainly point to a contemporary story/scandal that I'm not familiar with, a narrative which, of course, makes the film even more intriguing.

Given the fact that the restored print and subsequent release is the pet project of a NY based programmer, I wonder what the odds are of this coming out on Criterion within the next year?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:10 pm 
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I watched the first 30 minutes and just want to point out what I think is a notable subtitle mistake, also because it's a point used in the booklet too and probably also mistranslated here.

At the very beginning of the movie, Baptiste says "A nous deux, Babylone !"
It doesn't mean (except if the English translation is an idiom I don't know about, which could be quite possible) "Babylon, for both of us !" per se, but more as a defiance. It's the kind of things which could be said at a duel, for instance, like "Watch your back ! I'm coming !"

In Le pont du Nord, it would then more be the translation of Baptiste's will to explore than translating what's sound to me as some wish of possession.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:05 pm 

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I can't speak for the English subtitles (though Moc are usually sensitive in this regard), but I've done spanish subtitles for the film and I translated that as roughly "This is between you and me, Babylon".


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:53 pm 
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I wonder if Rivette ever saw Kozintsev and Trauberg's film about the Paris Commune, "The New Babylon"? ;-}


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:46 am 
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tenia wrote:
I watched the first 30 minutes and just want to point out what I think is a notable subtitle mistake, also because it's a point used in the booklet too and probably also mistranslated here.

At the very beginning of the movie, Baptiste says "A nous deux, Babylone !"
It doesn't mean (except if the English translation is an idiom I don't know about, which could be quite possible) "Babylon, for both of us !" per se, but more as a defiance. It's the kind of things which could be said at a duel, for instance, like "Watch your back ! I'm coming !"

In Le pont du Nord, it would then more be the translation of Baptiste's will to explore than translating what's sound to me as some wish of possession.

Yes absolutley as you say it's more of a 'look out we're on our way' thing. Brassens uses it in one of his songs referencing it back to a character from Balzac talking about going to Paris. If I was Leonard Cohen I'd come up with a sort of 'First we take Manhattan next we take Berlin' sort of vibe.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:09 pm 
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Sorry for the slow reply, warren (I’m not so great at keeping up with the fast pace of these here interwebs). I suspect that there is a fundamental divide in the way we’re watching and thinking about this film, so it’s tough for me to know where to begin.

Let me start by asking about this quote:

Quote:
About the idea of "mystery" in this Rivette film and others -- really that's one of the reasons Rivette has been one of my favorite filmmakers since I first saw Celine and Julie Go Boating, a film in which engagement with a lowercase m "mystery" ultimately engenders the profound feeling of big uppercase M "Mystery."


I’m assuming that lowercase m “mystery” refers to narrative and uppercase M “Mystery” refers to a sort of mood? Is that an accurate interpretation?

I can’t compare the level of narrative mystery to any other Rivette film, but, for me, this film certainly has no lack of Mystery. It seems to me like you had difficulty taking the character of Baptiste seriously, which hindered your ability to connect with the Mystery of the film. If that’s the case, I can’t try to convince you otherwise. I am trying to understand, though, how your desire for a greater sense of Mystery in Le Pont du Nord fits with your statement regarding the falsity of viewing certain works through a poetic lens, because Mystery (as I’m understanding it) is an abstract (and some might say “poetic”) term.

Quote:
I do feel, with a number of filmmakers I gravitate toward -- say Rivette, Lynch, Carruth -- that sometimes their fans/supporters are a little too quick to shut down a discussion (or, g-d forbid, criticism) about specific directorial and storytelling choices under the false assumption that the works themselves are on such a refined or unique aesthetic plane that they must not be spoken of in such terms. "Because the films are poetry! Don't you get it? Let them flow over you!"


I agree that it’s important to be able to coherently back-up with words one’s opinion of a work of art, but I don’t think the inability to do so makes an opinion less valid. Some of my very favorite works of art are the ones about which I find it most difficult to articulate my thoughts. I recall reading a quote from Kurosawa years ago that said something to the effect of: If I could sum up the meaning of any of my films in words, then there would be no point in creating the film. Instead, I would just write my message on a sign and hold it up to a crowd of people.

It's likely that I’ve mis-remembered the quote somewhat (if anyone knows where to find it, I would very much appreciate it!), but I think the point stands about the limits of language and film’s ability to express that which a filmmaker cannot express in words.

In an effort to not veer too far off the topic of this thread, it seems fitting that I return to this analytic/intuitive dichotomy I mentioned earlier, because one of the things I find fascinating about Le Pont du Nord is watching Marie and Baptiste interact. I like how dfzp characterized Marie as having shattered ideals and Baptiste as being the “oblivious younger one,” because it’s this tension between generations and personality types that I will pay particularly close attention to the next time I watch the film.

Of course, I’m basing much of this post on a string of assumptions, which means that I could have completely mis-interpreted your viewpoint, warren. Please let me know if that’s the case.

Oh, and one other thing: where can I find Rosenbaum’s writing on Le Pond du Nord? I’d really appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction of his piece and any others you read, as I’m having trouble finding much outside of the MoC booklet.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:12 pm 
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And I also apologize for double posting, but I didn’t want to bury my follow-up questions for dfzp at the end of my rambling response to warren.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I was hoping you could go into a bit more detail about your claim that the murder Baptiste commits has low-key consequences. What do you see as being the consequences?


Also, I’m interested in your assertion that Rivette is a materialistic filmmaker and not a poetic one. I, unfortunately, have yet to see anything from Straub, so that reference goes over my head, but maybe you could better explain why you feel this way.

I hope no one mistakes my curiosity for antagonism, as I truly enjoy hearing what other people have to say. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:28 pm 
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By capital "M" Mystery I had in mind something like a combination of mood/tone and the transcendent feeling you get when a film convinces you (especially one working with such simple means) by way of its wholly visible apparatus of the existence of a completely invisible world. The way that Tarkovsky imbues that seemingly ordinary empty field in Stalker, for instance, with profound silence and alien menace.

It is an abstract, ineffable thing, you're right. But the, er, effable way in which, for me, Le Pont du Nord doesn't quite get there (or isn't really aiming for those heights in the first place) is in certain specific choices that guide its tone, especially with respect to Baptiste, who tends to dominate the film's tone for most of the runtime. Like I've said, her broadness burns away any of the mists of Mystery I was hoping to discover. And we're left with lowercase "m" clues and two offbeat Nancy Drews.

The Rosenbaum book on Rivette is out of print. I read the piece in another book, but here's the link from Order of the Exile, a great little site dedicated to Rivette. I've also been checking out Douglas Morrey/Alison Smith's and Mary Wiles' books about Rivette.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:29 pm 
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I had great pleasure reacquainting myself with this film the other night. One of the things I most love about Rivette's films is the way his characters can transform their world through pure acts of imagination, and that's at the heart of this film.

Eagle-eyed re-viewers might want to watch closely during the scene in which Baptiste and Marie are going through the file / looking at the maps (I didn't and haven't gone back to check), since it occurs to me that -
[Reveal] Spoiler:
if the mysterious symbol in the corner of the press clipping relating to Marie corresponds to the mysterious symbol on the 'square' of the map Marie identifies as "The Bridge," then it would confirm that there is indeed a ritualistic conspiracy going on. That would also explain why Julien did not kill Marie at any of their earlier encounters, and why it's so essential that he gets the map back - the assassinations (for some mysterious reason) must take place in specific parts of Paris, and the briefcase contents are both the hitlist and the geographic key the assassin requires.


And if there's no correspondence, then everything dissolves back into some kind of randomness. At the beginning of the film, Baptiste offers her one-two-three rule: once is an accident; twice is chance; three times is fate. But most of the encounters between characters in the film occur more than three times. I'd suggest that the higher orders imply conspiracy.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:58 am 
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Thanks so much for the Order of the Exile link, warren. That site is such a wonderful resource! I'm going to have to thank Gary Tooze for hosting it...or maybe make another donation to DVD Beaver.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:15 pm 
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Shinji Aoyama's delightful and woefully under-appreciated Tokyo Park (2011) has a likely (almost certain) homage to "Pont du Nord", among other films (other favorite evocations, Naruse's "Sound of the Mountain" and Kore'eda's "After Life"). Unfortunately the Japanese DVD release in unsubbed -- and I don't think there has been any other version released so far. Too bad Third Window hasn't picked this up.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:42 am 
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I re-watched Le Pont du Nord this morning having previously seen it when I was in a bit of a tired state and not really able to give it the concentration it deserved. I really enjoyed it. It's the only Rivette I've seen and it's left me very keen to see more.

Anyway after watching it I was looking at IMDb and on Bulle Ogier's page in the trivia section I found this assertion :
Quote:
She once asked Jacques Rivette if he could direct a sequel to Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Third Generation (1979) focusing on her character (Hilde Krieger) after her release from prison. Although the movie was never made, this became the premise for Rivette's Le Pont du Nord (1981), which starts with Bulle's character leaving jail after serving a one year sentence.

Is this true? I can see there are things in Le Pont du Nord which would fit with this although names and locations are different, and it's clearly not a straight sequel. I've seen posts in this thread by people who are of course much more knowledgeable about Rivette than I am linking it to some of his other films but no mention of Fassbinder.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:07 am 
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Ozu Teapot wrote:
Is this true? I can see there are things in Le Pont du Nord which would fit with this although names and locations are different, and it's clearly not a straight sequel.

The Danish filmmaker/writer Christian Braad Thomsen indeed says that Bulle Ogier's character was based on her part in Fassbinder's The Third Generation (Kameraet som pen, p. 451). I believe Thomsen is considered a Fassbinder scholar/expert having written several books and pieces on Fassbinder, and having made a commentary track for Criterion as well (plus a documentary film on RWF). So yes, it's probably true.

But I'm not sure it matters too much, and Le Pont du Nord is certainly no sequel. Rivette often seems to use literary material and myths in the loosest possible sense. Thomsen, by the way, also says that Pascale Ogier's character in Le Pont du Nord is based on Don Quixote: "Don Quixote's armour has been replaced by a leather jacket, and his horse by a motorbike ... and she's fighting imagined enemies".


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:44 pm 
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Jonathan Rosenbaum corroborated the Third Generation story when he was on-hand to introduce a Rivette series in Philadelphia a few months ago.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:43 pm 
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Whether that story is true or not, it doesn't impinge on the film in any significant way. You can assume a similar background for Bulle's character purely from the film's internal evidence and the contemporary context. I don't think Fassbinder's dilettantes would have the wherewithal to mount the conspiracy in Rivette's film, anyway!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:53 am 
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Finally slid this one into the player the other night with little in the way of pre-conceptions, and I feel as though I'll have to revisit it very soon. It's the first Rivette I've watched, and has certainly primed me to start tracking down the rest of his work with some haste.

What fascinated me the most was how rapidly the film caused me to shift the way I perceived it while I watched. Both Marie and Baptiste initially struck me as 'characters' rather than people, the sort of personalities actors would come up with in a devising workshop by mashing interesting traits together. They felt like unreal elements dropped into the middle of a very real Paris. Soon enough that view shifted and I began seeing them as the only genuine inhabitants of a very unreal, alien city. Rather than movie characters moving through the real world, they were real people trying feel their way around a place conceived to serve a pre-determined narrative. Then at some point, I couldn't say when, I stopped thinking in terms of what was 'real' and what wasn't, and just took each moment as it happened.

By the end the crumbling facades and decaying brickwork overtook all the other images of Paris present in the film. My knowledge of the politics underlying the film are essentially non-existent, even the events and repurcussions of 1968, but it almost felt as though the wrecked buildings were the key to everything. Inconvenient history being paved over by progress, leaving no trace of what once was. The maps and clippings as the secrets of the older generation, determined to be buried with them. Who knows what they'll be next time I watch it. I'm tempted to bone up on my French political history before diving back in, though the film seemed no less entrancing having gone in blind.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:53 am 
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Well. Congratulations on your entry into the woerld of Rivette. This is my favorite Rivette film, though I do like virtually everything of his. Right now it is tough to find subbed versions of most of his early work -- and I have never found subbed versions of some of his films. Luckily my wife can help fill in the (large) gaps in my ability to understand spoken French.

Have fun exploring his work further!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:33 pm 
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Wow, Rivette manages to make Paris look like Rome. The sense of architecture here is beyond anything I've seen in any other French film before including Rivette's others. The best precedent I have is Rene Clair, but this is nothing like that. Also the younger Ogier is really amazing as her sprite seemingly taking over like a ghost from Juliet Berto from Out 1 though forced to live in the real world of fantasy rather than some Feulliade inspired one. It's such a simple performance, I wonder if Buster Keaton was a reference point, that all the same conveys a wide range of emotions. This is also a great comedy. The younger being birthed from the park bench at the start of the second day had me laughing so hard I know I had to have missed something. I'm not sure if I can talk about this as much more than an experience, but the cumulative effect of it all is just very enjoyable even when nerve wracking (probably the wrong choice of wording since this was his return after his breakdown).


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:59 pm 
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I suspect that Pont du Nord may have the highest comedy quotient of any Rivette film (at least prior to Va savoir) -- though much of it is pretty under-stated.


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