(aka "Nor'west" or "Northwest Wind" or "Noroît (une vengeance)")

 

directed by Jacques Rivette
France 1976

 

The strangest by far of Jacques Rivette's films (1976), and perhaps the last gasp of the modernist strain that infused his work from L'amour fou to Out 1 to Celine and Julie Go Boating, this is a violent and unsettling fusion of a female pirate adventure (filmed on some of the same locations used for The Vikings and inspired in part by Lang's Moonfleet, but set in no particular place or period), mythological fantasy, Jacobean tragedy (with many lines borrowed from Tourneur's Revenger's Tragedy), experimental dance film (with live improvised music from a talented trio of musicians), and personal psychodrama. The eclectic cast includes Geraldine Chaplin, Bernadette Lafont, Kika Markham (Two English Girls), and a few members of Carolyn Carlson's dance company. While the mise en scene and locations are often stunning, the film seems contrived to confound conventional emotional reactions of any sort. It's a movie where the casual slitting of someone's throat and the swishing sounds of Lafont's leather pants are made to seem equally relevant--a world apart from Rivette's more recent La belle noiseuse. Yet Rivette's feeling for duration, immediacy, and moods of menace are fully present here, and days or weeks after you see this chilling conundrum of a movie, sounds and images may come back to haunt you. Rarely screened--the film never even had a commercial run in France--this monstrous work deserves to be seen as a uniquely disquieting experience.

Jonathan Rosenbaum's Capsule Review in the Chicago Reader HERE

Theatrical Release: 1976

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DVD Review: Les films de ma vie - Region 2 - PAL

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Distribution

Les films de ma vie

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 2:08:52 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.52 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles NO SUBTITLES
Features Release Information:
Studio: Les films de ma vie

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date: August 23rd, 2006
Digipack

Chapters 14

 

Comments:

Les films de ma vie presents Jacques Rivette's rare gem "Noroit" in a Double Disc Set with "Duelle".

The transfer is close to perfect. The image is sharp, clear and has a very well balanced contrast. The colors are represented vividly and beautifully and I think the screen captures give you a good idea of that. The picture is also very clean and free of any scratches.

As wholly satisfying as the video quality is the sound. The 2.0 French soundtrack sounds clean throughout. THERE ARE NO SUBTITLES OFFERED!

The only bonus material is a film analysis by Hélène Frappat that isn't subtitled.

A major drawback of this release is the absence of English subtitles. Still, if you're desperate to see these films (and these masterpieces are certainly worth it) and can't wait for an English-friendly release, you shouldn't hesitate to grab this.

 - Stan Czarnecki

 



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(aka "Les filles de feu" or "Scènes de la vie parallèle: 2 - Duelle (une quarantaine)" or "Twilight (A Quarantine)" or "La Vengeresse" )

 

directed by Jacques Rivette
France 1976

 

It all began (as things Rivettian tend to do) auspiciously enough. There were to be four films in a series originally entitled Les Filles du Feu (after Gerard de Nerval) before the more expansive Scenes de la vie parallele replaced it. Each would center on a “non-existent myth” of a battle between goddesses of the sun and the moon for a mysterious blue diamond that has the power to make mortals immortal and vice versa. Each film was to be in a different genre: a film noir, a pirate adventure, a love story, and finally a musical – the last-mentioned of whose scenario particulars hadn’t been completely worked out when the four-film project went into production. Two films were ultimately completed – Duelle (the film noir) and Noroit (1976, the pirate adventure). But two days into the shooting of the third, Histoire de Marie et Julien the metteur en scène (as Rivette always chose to call himself, auteurism be damned) suffered a nervous breakdown, and the entire project fell apart – though traces of it linger in Merry-Go-Round (1981, a paranoid conspiracy jape that has everything but the goddesses) and the semi-demi-musical Haut/Bas/Fragile (1995).

[...]

Chéreau’s staging, it’s more than sufficient to contemplate its impact on Duelle. Our innocent heroine (Hermine Karaghuez instantly recalling Betty Schneider in Paris nous appartient) recites lines from Cocteau’s play as a kind of incantation, much as Geraldine Chaplin reads lines from Cyril Tourneur’s The Revenger’s Tragedy in Noroit. But that reworking of Fritz Lang’s Moonfleet and Tourneur’s (Jacques bien sur) Anne of the Indies (1951) is enacted on a rocky island of no temporal or spatial specificity. Duelle takes place in an eerily unpopulated Paris in a perpetual twilight (the neo-Joycean Twhylight is the film’s alternate title) where it always seems to be just before dawn. The settings are completely real, yet appear to have been created in order for Rivette to discover them: an aquarium out of The Lady From Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1947), a jardins des plantes redolent of greenhouse at the start of The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946), a dance club called Le Rhumba out of Criss Cross (Robert Siodmak, 1949), and a ballet classroom that evokes Pandora’s Box (G.W. Pabst, 1929) – with Berto in a hairdo (and accompanying manner) remindful of Valeska Gert in Renoir’s Nana (1926). Most important of all there’s Jean Weiner - a composer who has lent his talents to films by Renoir, Duvivier, Franju and Bresson. But what he’s here for is to recall his days as a pianist at Cocteau’s favorite hang-out Le Boeuf sur le Toit. And thus he is live on the set spinning out improvisations in numerous scenes in the film’s first three quarters – with the characters treating his visible presence as no more noteworthy than any other aspect of the setting. While he’s joined by a small ensemble to serve as the pit band in the scenes at Le Rhumba, it’s other moments that stand out – particularly his last at the dance class, where Berto sends a hopelessly diamond-addicted Garcia on her way into an alley where snow is gently falling.

And this in turn leads to the inevitable question: what is this all about anyway. Well surely it’s about death. And drugs. And style – in a way that hasn’t been seen on screen since the heyday of Sternberg and Dietrich. And it’s about Rivette doing a “complete 180” from the improvisatory extremes of Out 1: Noli me tangere (1971) and Céline et Julie vont en bateau/Phantom Ladies Over Paris (1974). But in the last analysis Duelle is about what all the greatest of the great are about – the siren call of cinema itself.

Excerpts from David Ehrenstein's Article in Senses of Cinema HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: September 15th, 1976

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Les films de ma vie - Region 2 - PAL

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Les films de ma vie

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:55:24 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.53 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles NO SUBTITLES
Features Release Information:
Studio: Les films de ma vie

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date: August 23rd, 2006
Digipack

Chapters 14

 

Comments:

The image of "Duelle" may be a tad softer than "Noroit". There is also a slight amount of (tolerable) digital noise. Other than that we get the expected sharpness, fine contrast and vividness of colors (even though "Duelle" is a darker film visually than "Noroit"; its lighting is more noirish).

Here, again, we have a flawless 2.0 soundtrack and, again, no English subtitles, as well as the un-subtitled Hélène Frappat film analysis.

Still, if you're desperate to see these films (and these masterpieces are certainly worth it) and can't wait for an English-friendly release, you shouldn't hesitate to grab this.

 - Stan Czarnecki

 



DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Les films de ma vie

Region 2 - PAL




 

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