Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Comprising eight feature-length ‘episodes’ which cover the same period of time, Jacques Rivette’s epic humanist drama Out 1: Noli Me Tangere begins with a theatre group rehearsing for Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes, before switching over to another group whose preparations for a different Aeschylus play, Prometheus Bound, are a little more unorthodox. Peripheral characters, whose connections to either group are unknown, discover correspondences which mention some of the actors, and begin to grow suspicious that the ‘Thirteen’ being referred to is some sort of secret society. What ensues is a quest to crack this enigmatic group which may or may not exist, an undertaking which starts to take away from people’s lives.

The film’s title is contrasted to the word ‘in’, meaning fashionable, suggesting that the plot is a reflection on the futile search for popularity. The characters who are supposedly ‘in’ the secret society are unaware of it, and the characters who beg, steal and borrow for information do not see much improvement in the quality their lives as a result. Rivette’s decision to set the film amongst theatre groups raises questions about the participation of the viewer in both the theatre and the cinema, and the artifice and duplicity of acting, and the success of his film is a testament to the cast’s abilities. Jean-Pierre Léaud (Antoine from The 400 Blows) is particularly brilliant as the uncaring Colin, a man whose lifeblood is pretending to be a deaf harmonica player in order to extort money from the public.

No comments:

Post a Comment