Sunday 27 August 2017

On Blu-ray - A Journey through Jacques Rivette's OUT 1 - Episode 7 ...disintegration and mild paranoia come to the fore

Editor’s Note: Click on the links for episode 1,  episode 2,  episode 3episode 4episode 5 and episode 6 

Septième episode (Episode 7) is titled "From Emilie to Lucie".

Episode 7 spends much time lining up all the ducks in row preparatory to whatever action is going to happen in the final chapter. The second of the two theatre companies goes the way of the first. The membership of both disintegrated without a production being mounted. Complications derived from both groups, most notably that the two leaders Thomas (Michel Lonsdale) and Lili (Michele Moretti) are both members of the secret society known as the Treize and both have become agitated in their respective ways. We are still no closer to knowing what the mission of the Treize ever was though there have been ruminations about money and power.

Thomas, Lucie, Etienne - the riverbank conversation
What is probably the key conversation takes place between Thomas, Etienne (Jacques Doniol-Valcroze) and Lucie de Graff (Francoise Fabian). As a matter of interest Lucie, apparently a lawyer and otherwise impeccably groomed and coiffed, always wears a long blue skirt split high at the front to reveal her thighs as she strides out. Etienne on the other hand is always dapper in a different coat and tie each time we see him. Thomas, a somewhat shambling figure, always wears colourful casuals.

Colin and Sarah
Their chat reveals that all three are members of the Treize and they feel that events of the day, partly created by the ignorant and bumbling intervention of Colin (Jean-Pierre Leaud) masquerading as a reporter, are not good. The three stroll back and forward along the bank of the Seine, the Eiffel Tower in the distance. They mention that Lili has dis-appeared, that the letters that were reclaimed by Lucie are not particularly incriminating, that there is concern that Emilie might give some of the letters to the papers. They are joined by Thomas who tells them he has burnt some of the letters. Seemingly as always nothing ever gets to be finally resolved, no firm course of action decided upon.

“Wherever journeymen travel, they find a hostel for compagnons which has been in existence in the town from time immemorial. The obade as they call it, is a kind of lodge with a ‘Mother’ in charge, an old half-gypsy wife whom has nothing to lose.”  

Meanwhile Emilie (Bulle Ogier) has joined Lili at the house at the coast, a place which has increasingly been referred to as “L’obade”. (I must confess confusion until I tracked  “Obade” down via Google and it hit upon the passage quoted above from Balzac’s “Histoire des Treize”. How do they do it?). 

Thomas (2nd left) and Emilie (far right) at the 'obade'. 
There is another single shot long conversation between the two women who are both escaping from perceived pressure that they cant handle. They speculate whether the absent husband Igor may actually be in the house, may in fact emerge and strangle Emilie, and they fall to discussing Thomas and his trustworthiness. They are later joined by Thomas, accompanied by a couple of his troupe. He feigns illness and clearly wants to do something within the "Obade" which we are not yet privy too. 

Thomas’s theatre group has fallen apart and Sarah (Bernadette Lafont) then meets up with Colin (the pesky Jean-Pierre Leaud) and mentions that it is dangerous to know Pauline (aka Emilie).

Finally things have developed between Frederique (Juliet Berto) and Renaud (Alain Libolt) and we learn that he has given away the money from the purloined lottery ticket. The scene between the two in Frederique’s room is the only real moment of tenderness on show. At its centre is a glorious close-up of Berto staring in post-coital bliss directly at the camera. Renaud has told his life story through an allegory involving warriors and guards and a man who makes off with their treasure.

Things have been set up for the finale. The theatre troupes have disintegrated, the members of the Treize are seeking comradeship amongst a group that faded away but which seems to generate some residual power and loyalty among its members. The action may or may not shift entirely to the Obade.

There are mysterious goings on at that house. Unexplained looks, whispered conversations, feigned illnesses....

There are surely betrayals to come….

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