Paris Belongs to Us

Not since Feuillade (Les vampires) has a director made such inspired and inventive use of Paris as we see in Rivette in general, and this film in particular. The Langian plot of Paris Belongs to Us has a group of Left Bank students, artists, and exiles haunted by a vague, unseen menace, some kind of worldwide conspiracy whose secret is known only by the theater director who is the film's protagonist. In its day the film was a cause célèbre whose champions found it to be a hypnotic description of midcentury anxiety and despair; Sight and Sound went so far as to compare it with the best of Kafka, and a manifesto signed by fellow filmmakers Godard, Demy, Chabrol, Truffaut, Resnais, Varda, and Melville called it “a fusion of poetic vision and realist expression.” Today it can be seen as the first of Rivette's films about acting troupes and amateur detectives pursuing Truth through the rehearsal of fictions.

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