Monday, 26 July 2010
AROUND A SMALL MOUNTAIN
(Jacques Rivette; Italy/ France; 2009)
I slept through a large swathe of Rivette's last film Don't Touch The Axe, for reasons other than boredom, when it was shown at MIFF 2 years ago. Having not experienced a huge deal of Rivette's work as yet, I pumped myself to the gills with caffeine to experience his latest film. No need for caffeine - it's his shortest film, at a mere 85 minutes!
Rivette handles the short form extremely adeptly. In essence, it is still a puzzle-film as only Rivette can do, with an Italian traveller attempting to unlock a woman's anguished relationship to her past life with a travelling circus.With a shorter timeframe Rivette doesn't have much time to interweave a number of plots with varying generic styles, like he does with his long films, but working with a tighter framework has resulted in an economy of Rivettean modes – he elides serious drama and comedy by layering both on top of each other, such as in the scenes with the clowns performing their comedy routines so wearily in front of dwindling audiences that all humour is wrung out. For me, this film does not match the magisterial heights of Celine and Julie Go Boating or La Belle Noiseuse, but as a simple 'intro' to the man's work, this is a humble and masterful addition to his canon.