Editor’s Note: Click on the links for episode 1, episode 2, episode 3, episode 4, episode 5, episode 6, and episode 7
Huitième episode/Episode 8. "From Lucie to Marie"
Aaah. Marie. The character played by gorgeous, tousled-haired Hermine Karagheuz about whom I have previously made a declaration is listed in an episode title. Anticipation rises.
|Thomas (2nd l) gets drunk with Emilie (r)|
|"Why are you looking at me like that?|
"I'm just looking at you in a normal manner."
That small revelation is only one of a plethora of insights into the film, its conditions of production, its film-making method and its fate that are scattered through what amounts to the greatest ‘making of’ doco I’ve ever seen. I hesitate to dub it the greatest ever for I am conscious that on many occasions I have been taken to or ingested the 'greatest' (coffee and gelato, especially). It surely must rate right up there. More later.
At the end of these two sequences Emilie receives a phone call from Pierre whom, along with Igor, remains simply a name.
|'The most beautiful shot in the film' Emilie in the|
Lucie (Francoise Fabian), still or again in her slit to the thighs blue dress, has a conversation about the Treize with Warok (Jean Bouise). It is briefly interrupted by a visit from Colin (Jean-Pierre Leaud) who brings he says “a message of happiness”. His research indicates that the group is ‘ideologically false” and he is now giving up on it. He leaves and then Warok, falsely, tells Lucie that Colin is a disciple of the unseen Pierre and that he has just brought a message from him. Lucie complains that the group achieves nothing.
At an intersection on the Paris outskirts dominated by a large and ungainly stand alone building we can just make out the presence of Quentin still searching the streets for Renaud.
|Frederique's fatal phone call|
Emilie delightedly takes a phone call from Igor. She arranges to meet him at Warok’s.
Then, the action and the Feuillade kicker. Frederique is on the rooftop at the Impasse Veron near the Moulin Rouge. She is armed with an ancient pistol and wearing a mask, a kind of masked ball affair in black. Two men arrive and talk in a language which isn’t subtitled and they are joined by Renaud. They leave and Frederique comes out from her hiding place and calls Renaud. He turns and the camera zip pans across the rooftop to see her gunned down and in a death throe firing off a shot. Renaud comes over to the body and takes off the mask and the short-haired wig she is wearing so as to discover that it his lover.
Colin is back to begging in cafes and irritating the patrons, and the audience, with his bursts from a mouth organ.
|Thomas loses it on the beach|
|Marie, the final shot|
Brad Stevens in Senses of Cinema which notes: "This briefly glimpsed image shows Marie, played by Hermine Karagheuz, standing near Léon-Ernest Drivier’s statue of Athena in the Fontaine de la Porte Dorée in Paris". The shot, or part of it, was previously briefly seen in Episode 6.
My hopes for a longer involvement on Marie’s part have been somewhat dashed.
|Stephane Tchal Gadjieff|
It was Stephane who was the driving force behind the resurrection of the film and he has shepherded it through countless difficulties, technical and financial, so that it arrives today in the splendid Arrow Films large box set edition which brings everyone up to date on just what Rivette got up to when he seemingly had an endlessly indulgent and very protective producer.
|Jean-Francois Stevenin channels Brando and Cku Galagher|
Rivette describes the two outsiders played by Leaud and Berto as persons who think there are grown-ups with important things to say. Hence their pursuit of the Treize.
|Petit a Petit (Jean Rouch)|
Rivette talks about the group and how it was derived from Balzac, an author he has struggled with, even though he planted references throughout and even though he actually adapted one of the three stories in “L’Histoire des Treize” in a much later film Ne Touchez-pas la Hache (France 2007). It seems he is not a believer in conspiracies, only in the value of vague conspiracies as plot and story elements. Probably therein lies the explanation as to why the actors never talked about what the Treize might stand for, what goals it might have, what revolutionary instincts. The talk is only about the warmth and comfort that being a member of a group provides.
Finally I can report there is some explanation of the alleged title “Noli Me Tangere” (Don’t touch me) which adorns the discs’ menus but which doesn’t appear on the film, at least on the restored version which Arrow has put out. I wont go into it. Rivette himself links the phrase back to its Biblical origins.
So, after almost thirteen hours of film/series, a couple more hours watching The Mysteries of Paris, the Arrow box set has reached the half way point. The remainder includes Out 1 Spectre, the radical re-edit down to four hours (‘Plus an intermission” right after the only moment when Colin and Frederique cross paths) plus the three Tchalgadfjieff produced features from the series dubbed “Scenes de la vie parallele” – Duelle, Noroit and Merry Go Round. I have already been warned that I have no idea how low a director’s standards can slip until I try sitting through them. Completism has its punishments according to some.