Out 1: Noli me tangere (pt.2)
dir. Jacques Rivette, France, 1971, DCP, 380 mins. b/w, French w/English subt.
Out 1: Noli me tangere
The restoration and reappearance of Jacques Rivette’s legendary magnum opus, Out 1: Noli me tangere brings this lengthy nearly impossible-to-see, 13-hour masterpiece to the big screen. Over eight episodes shot on 16mm, a cast of French New Wave icons improvise a spellbinding tale based on Honoré de Balzac’s History of the Thirteen, involving two theater troupes rehearsing Aeschylus, a female con artist (Juliet Berto) who seduces her victims, and a deaf-mute (until he speaks) busker (Jean-Pierre Léaud) on a quest to uncover a mysterious secret society. As the characters’ paths intersect and the film’s puzzle-box structure—including one 45-minute take—grows ever more elaborate, a portrait of post-May 1968 Paris and its dashed dreams emerges. The result is a cinematic experience unlike any other, in which, as Rivette himself put it: “the fiction swallows everything up and then self-destructs.”
“A mind-blowing experience, but one which, instead of taking one ‘out of this world’ as the expression has it, took one right smack into the world. Or into a world which one only dimly realised was there—always right there beneath the everyday world...the cinema will never be the same again, and nor will I.”—Richard Roud, The Guardian