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(aka 'Paris is Ours' aka 'Paris Belongs To Us')

Directed by Jacques Rivette
France 1960

Though more amateurish in appearance than any of the other celebrated first features of the French New Wave (rivaled only by Eric Rohmer's Le signe du lion in low-rent production values), Jacques Rivette's troubled and troubling account of Parisians in the late 50s remains in some ways the most intellectually and philosophically mature of them as well as one of the most beautiful (1960). The specter of a world-wide conspiracy and impending apocalypse haunts the characters--an inquiring student, a group of actors staging a low-budget production of Pericles, various artists, an expatriate American in flight from McCarthyism--as the student goes on a quest to recover a tape of guitar music by a Spanish émigré who may or may not have committed suicide; echoes of everything from Kiss Me Deadly to the Tower of Babel sequence from Metropolis (quoted directly) inform her mysterious journey. Few films have been more effective in capturing a period and milieu than this one, which evokes the poetry and the potential dread of bohemian paranoia and sleepless nights in tiny one-room flats, along with the fragrant, youthful idealism and utopian dreams conveyed by the film's title (which is countered by the opening epigraph from Charles Peguy: "Paris belongs to no one"). Rivette himself--and friends and colleagues such as Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, and Jacques Demy--make memorable cameo appearances...

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's review at the Chicago Reader located HERE

***

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 Gérard; 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 Gérard, 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.

Jacques 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.

***

One of the original critics turned filmmakers who helped jump-start the French New Wave, Jacques Rivette began shooting his debut feature in 1958, well before that cinema revolution officially kicked off with The 400 Blows and Breathless. Ultimately released in 1961, the rich and mysterious Paris Belongs to Us offers some of the radical flavor that would define the movement, with a particularly Rivettian twist. The film follows a young literature student (Betty Schneider) who befriends the members of a loose-knit group of twentysomethings in Paris, united by the apparent suicide of an acquaintance. Suffused with a lingering post–World War II disillusionment while also evincing the playfulness and fascination with theatrical performance and conspiracy that would become hallmarks for the director, Paris Belongs to Us marked the provocative start to a brilliant directorial career.

Poster

Theatrical Release: November 1960

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Comparison:

BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

Distribution BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL Criterion Collection - Spine #802 - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime 2:15:40 (4% PAL Speedup)  2:22:09.521 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.81 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size:48,593,429,391 bytes

Feature Size: 40,580,247,552 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)  LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New filmed introduction by Jonathan Romney on Rivette and Paris nous appartient
• Le Coup du berger (Rivette, 1957, 27 mins, English subtitles)
• Illustrated booklet with a review by Tom Milne; feature by Louis Marcorelles, originally published in Sight & Sound; director biography

DVD Release Date: September 25th, 2006

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 18

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:

Disc Size:48,593,429,391 bytes

Feature Size: 40,580,247,552 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

Edition Details:

• New interview with Richard Neupert, author of A History of the French New Wave Cinema (24:48)
• Jacques Rivette’s 1956 short film Le coup du berger, featuring cameos by fellow French New Wave directors Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, and François Truffaut (29:02)
• PLUS: An essay by critic Luc Sante

Blu-ray Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Transparent Keep case

Chapter: 20

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray February 16': We have reviewed many Rivette films on disc (Histoire de Marie et Julien, Va Savoir, Le pont du Nord, La belle noiseuse, Céline et Julie vont en bateau) and we - most recently have covered the desirable boxsets; Carlotta's 13 disc OUT1 and Arrow's 16-disc Jacques Rivette Collection. Many may now also realize that the DVDBeaver Server is host to http://www.jacques-rivette.com/ (Order of the Exile) - it hasn't been updated in a while but is chock-full of information for the discerning Rivette aficionado or budding student. NOTE: Jonathan Rosenbaum's Introduction to Rivette essay, from 1977, is a great place to start for neophytes learn about the director's body of work. It's wonderful to have more Rivette coming to 1080P Blu-ray.

Criterion's new transfer is a new 2K digital restoration and it advances beyond BFI's 2006 DVD - most notably in contrast and the support of textured film grain. There is some movement in the frame but, generally (with a few exceptions) the Criterion shows more information to varying degrees on all 4 edges. It is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate (about 6X that of the SD) and looks very impressive in-motion with the SD looking a shade green beside it. Excellent.

Criterion go authentic with the audio - a linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in original French. It is flat but consistent in the uncompressed and Philippe Arthuys' sparse score benefits. The Criterion Blu-ray has optional English subtitles (see sample) and is region 'A'-locked.

Criterion add a new, 25-minute, interview with Richard Neupert, author of A History of the French New Wave Cinema and Professor of film studies at University of Georgia. He discusses the themes and legacy of Jacques Rivette's debut feature, Paris Belongs To Us. As also included on the BFI DVD, we get Jacques Rivette’s 1956, 1/2 hour, short comedy Le coup du berger, in 1080P, featuring cameos by fellow French New Wave directors Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, and François Truffaut. The film is about an adulterous wife and her lover's attempt to figure out how she will explain his gift of a mink coat to her husband. The package also contains a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Luc Sante.

This is an excellent Blu-ray release from Criterion that Rivette, French or World Cinema, fans should buy with extreme confidence.

***

ON THE DVD: Following the release of a new print by BFI Distribution in April, during the NFT's major Rivette retrospective, BFI Video released Paris nous appartient on DVD - the remarkable first feature from the great cinematic visionary and probably least known of the major French New Wave directors - Jacques Rivette.  

The image looks very good. Progressive, great contrast and quite sharp. Damage is almost non-existent. I did see some strange cue-blip markers (see last capture) but they are only for a frame or two. I think it looks superior to Celine and Julie Go Boating - released in tandem with this DVD.

Extras include another introduction by Jonathan Romney discussing Rivette and Paris nous appartient, a 1957 Rivette 27 minute short called  Le Coup du berger and a wonderful illustrated booklet with a review by Tom Milne; feature by Louis Marcorelles, originally published in Sight & Sound and a director biography.

I really enjoyed this film and have a much better grasp on Rivette than I ever have had in the past, but still he remains quite elusive. I hope BFI offers more of his work on DVD soon.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) BFI - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

These white squares appear a couple of times on the DVD - for a frame or two - I suspect they may be cue-blip markers and they are not present on the Criterion Blu-ray.
 

More Blu-ray Captures


 
Box Covers

   

Distribution BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL Criterion Collection - Spine #802 - Region 'A' Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

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