RIP, Jacques Rivette (1928-2016)

I woke this morning to the unfortunate news that Jacques Rivette, one of the true pioneers of French narrative filmmaking and a key figure in the New Wave, has passed away.

Others have written wonderful appreciations and obituaries. I will share just one thought. One of the clichés in writing about his film practice is that, as the NY Times obituary puts it, he “created by the collision of stylized, scripted material and the real-world contingencies of improvisation and location shooting.”

And yet, when I had the occasion to look at his scripts at the Bibliothèque du film in Paris a few summers ago, what struck me was how meticulous a planner he consistently was–in his use of location shooting. Below is a page from his script/scrapbook for Va Savoir (2001), which shows just how much time he spent visualizing scenes before shooting them–scouting locations, photographing settings, and sketching out camera positioning and staging.

Rivette_Va Savoir_script

A fascinating filmmaker, to be sure–and one whose works and working methods have yet to be fully understood. RIP, M. Rivette.

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