Wednesday, February 06, 2008

the body in its entirety

Daney: As a filmmaker, what does the human face mean to you? You've admired this aspect of other directors' work, people like Dreyer or Bresson or Godard, for example, who continues filming faces. What is a face to you? Is it something that demands respect because it's too intimate or can we no longer film faces like Griffith did and we have to do it differently?

Rivette: I don't think it's a question of having the right... It's more that I don't want to separate... to split things up... I know that a lot of filmmakers, whether consciously or not, who have this notion of splitting the body into bits. Not just the face, it can be the hand or any part of the body. But obviously the face is the main focus of the body. But I know that, when I stand behind the camera and look into the eyepiece, I always have a tendency that I sometimes regret of stepping back somewhat, because when I have just the face I want to see the hands and when I have the hands I want to see the body. I always want to see the body in its entirety. And then the person or the backdrop... the elements in relation to which this body acts, reacts, moves, etc. I think it's simply linked to the fact that I don't have the temperament, the taste or the talent to make heavily edited films. My films focus more on the continuity of events taken as a whole. (...) With Anna, as with Juliet or Bulle - to name just three when I could name others - what I like about these actresses and indeed other actors like Jean-Pierre Léaud or Jean-Pierre Kalfon, is their entire body, the overall way the body moves and reacts from head to toe. And that's what I want to capture on film. I know what I'm saying is only half true. Because a filmmaker like Jean-Luc, who films very close in, knows that as he's filming a particular detail, what he's not filming will come across. If he's filming the face or another part of the body, you can feel the parts of the body that you can't see.

- Serge Daney and Jacques Rivette, from Jacques Rivette - Le veilleur (Claire Denis/Serge Daney, 1989).

Also see, very loosely-related: this post on 'Designated Sleeper', displaying the (unparalleled?) sartorial elegance of Juliet Berto in Rivette's Duelle.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

recently, due to job tasks (i hate to work, i hate i hate i hate) i missed an urgent re-viewing of Berto and Roger’s “Neige”. I love her so!, with Bulle Ogier, she’s the most unforgettable of Rivette’s women. Soon, at the film museum, they will start a Rivette’s retrospective and finally, I’ll be able to see “Duelle”. I feel like a song coming in… but, since it’s a Rivette’s movie, it will be more like if a choreographic movement will possess me.

josé murnau

5:00 PM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

I envy you for your Rivette retrospective. It's still a mystery if we'll get one here in this lifetime...

For Berto admirers like us: Juliet Berto by Gérard Courant (Cinematon #441).

11:55 AM  
Blogger Dmitry said...

Mubarak, thank you for linking to my livejournal post (incidentally, it is titled "9 lives of Juliet Berto"). I have just started a blog in English and invite you to take a peek:

4:48 PM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

Thanks, Dmitry. A great start to your new blog with your post on the Guerin film.

11:34 AM  

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