An aging, reclusive painter turns to a beautiful young model for inspiration in Rivette's exploration of the creative process—sound familiar? Turning the idea of a “director's cut” on its head, Divertimento is not only a variation on the theme of La belle noiseuse, but a lesson in the process and power of editing. Forced to pare down that four-hour work for television, Rivette responded by composing an entirely new film on the editing table, resurrecting alternate shots, reverse angles, and other phantoms from the cutting room floor. Eliminating the many documentary-style views of the painting process and Noiseuse's intense sense of creation through attrition, Divertimento instead focuses on human relationships, specifically those between the older artist (Michel Piccoli), his bemused wife (Jane Birkin), and a beautiful young model (Emmanuelle Béart). Less theory of art, more theatrics of the heart, it's a lighter dimension of Rivette, one usually obscured, but far more intimate.
—Judy Bloch

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