Friday, December 18, 2015
The first completed episode of Rivette’s planned but never finished tetralogy “Les Filles de feu” (which he later renamed “Scenes de la vie parallele,” and revisited decades later with Story of Marie and Julien), finds the realm of the spirits encroaching upon and transforming reality. Locked in a duel for control of a magical diamond that will enable them to remain on Earth, sun goddess Viva (Bulle Ogier) and moon goddess Leni (Juliet Berto) lock horns in an eerily vacant and uncannily stylized Paris, conscribing a group of mere mortals in the process. Equal parts film noir and avant-garde myth, Duelle inhabits a space between the material and supernatural worlds, and conveys a paradoxical sense that anything can happen and that everything is determined by forces beyond our control and comprehension. No Rivette film has plunged so deliriously into dream logic, and the results are never less than entrancing. An NYFF14 selection. Print courtesy of Institut Francais, special thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy NY.