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Born: Rouen, France, 1 March 1928.

Jacques Rivette (JPG, 13 KB)

With his first feature, Paris nous appartient / Paris Belongs to Us (1958-60), and his critical work, Rivette was a central figure in the New Wave. Along with Jean-Luc Godard he was also its most experimental member (because of their unconventional narratives and length - some exceed four hours - Rivette's films are rarely shown). The dual motif of plot (as conspiracy and narrative) and performance (often improvised) provides a complex reflection on narrative, fiction and imagination in, for instance, L'Amour fou, 1967-69, and L'Amour par terre / Love on the Ground, 1984.

Rivette frequently focuses on women. The celebrated Céline et Julie vont en bateau / Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974) remains a brilliant challenge to narrative and patriarchal structures: Céline and Julie control their destiny (actresses Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier contributed to the script), live by their wits and reject men and marriage. Le Pont du Nord (1981) and L'Amour par terre also centred on two women and involved the actresses in the writing process. On the other hand, La Belle Noiseuse (1991, based on a Balzac short story), while a profound reflection on the nature of artistic creation and the relationship between painting and the cinema, endorsed a conventional patriarchal vision of a male painter and his female model. It has been Rivette's most successful film.

— Ginette Vincendeau, Encyclopedia of European Cinema

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This page was last updated on 3 September 2000.