Saturday, May 7, 2011

Noroît (une vengeance)

(1976, Fr, 145min)
d Jacques Rivette p Stéphane Tchalgadjieff sc Eduardo di Gregorio, Marilù Parolini ph William Lubtchansky ed Nicole Lubtchansky pd Eric Simon m Jean Cohen-Solal, Robert Cohen-Solal, Daniel Ponsard cast Geraldine Chaplin, Bernadette Lafont, Kika Markham, Babette Lamy, Elizabeth Lafont, Humbert Balsan, Larrio Ekson

On the wild Brittany coastline, pale romantic Geraldine Chaplin cradles her (perhaps) dead brother, whilst skeletally intoning a poetical text vowing revenge on pirate queen Giulia (Lafont). They are, respectively, Moon and Sun goddesses engaged in a battle to the death (perhaps). Rivette’s filles de feu tetralogy was built on genre, here the action/adventure pirate mode, from Moonfleet and Anne of the Indies. But genre is only a starting point, an excuse to explore movement (most of the cast are dancers) and music (provided by a terrific trio improvising on camera) and, as ever, play-acting, from Lafont resplendent in a purple leather pant-suit to frequent quotation from the other Tourneur, an accusatory play-within-a-film, and a fantastical midnight masque finale. Highly idiosyncratic, almost too privately-conceived to be satisfying, and as such a mystical, mythical and wondrous leap into uncharted territory.

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