Out 1, Episodes 1–4

Special admission: $16, general; $10, BAM/PFA members, students, and seniors.

“If there is a movie equivalent of reading Proust or watching the Ring cycle-of committing to an artwork of overwhelming proportions that promises to repay accordingly-it's likely to be found in the films of the French New Wave veteran Jacques Rivette. . . . And in the annals of monumental cinema . . . there are few objects more sacred than Rivette's twelve-and-a-half-hour Out 1. (It is a) spectacle . . . unique in movies: an adventure and a hallucination. As time elapses, the viewer succumbs to waves of delight and disorientation, exhaustion and exhilaration. Among other things, Out 1 concerns the parallel efforts of two theater companies to put on Aeschylus plays. Two oddball loners (Jean-Pierre Léaud and Juliet Berto) separately circle the groups. Characters change names and reveal secret identities. Living Theaterish rehearsals go on for ages. Connective tissue fills in, only to fall away. Léaud's character is the thickening mystery's self-appointed detective, fixated on cryptic messages about a thirteen-member secret society, a subplot that Rivette borrowed from the Balzac suite of novellas History of the Thirteen. Building on his improvisational experiments of L'amour fou (June 17), Rivette worked without a script, relying instead on a diagram that mapped the junctures at which members of his large ensemble cast would intersect. . . . Out 1 uses documentary techniques-uninflected observation, unscripted situations-not to capture reality but to generate fiction. . . . An epic meditation on the relationship between the individual and the collective, Out 1 devotes its second half to fracture and dissolution. But it's not a depressing film, perhaps because its implicit pessimism is refuted by its very existence. Experiential in the extreme, Out 1 cannot help transforming the solitary act of moviegoing into a communal one.”

A one-hour dinner break will follow Episode 2 at approximately 5:10 p.m.

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