Out 1: Noli me tangere Screen 24 articles

Out 1: Noli me tangere

1971

Out 1: Noli me tangere Poster
  • It's with some consolation to the frustrated viewer, then, that Out 1 features a cameo from Eric Rohmer in which he eloquently and comprehensively chides Colin's “poor grasp of reality.” Thankfully, Out 1 is good for an occasional chuckle, and this little nugget provides droll evidence that Rivette intends the film more as an experiential exploration than a statement in stone.

  • The spectacle that unfolded over two days was, as advertised, unique in movies: an adventure and a hallucination. As time elapses, the viewer succumbs to waves of delight and disorientation, exhaustion and exhilaration.

  • Out 1 is an extended anthropological discourse, a dissection of the dashed dreams and hopes of a counterculture destroying itself from within due to a misunderstood threat from without. Yet it is also a vivid document of a particular moment in time, ultimately hopeful in its belief that the human comedy, whatever its fallacies and failures, is always granted continuance.

  • Sprawling across nearly 13 hours, in eight episodes involving dozens of speaking roles and what seems like most of Paris’ arondissements, Jacques Rivette’s “Out 1” has emerged from the mists of film history and legend to confirm its status as a monumental if cheeky culmination of the French New Wave.

  • The final episode is the richest in terms of action and revelation. Can this all-consuming spectacle really be ending? Rivette's last shot is an extraordinary throwaway that provoked spontaneous applause for being at once completely ordinary, totally unexpected, and positively diabolical in shifting the meaning of the entire previous 12 1/2 hours. But of course, I'd have to see Out 1 again to be sure.

  • This 1971 comedy drama is Jacques Rivette's grandest experiment and most exciting adventure in filmmaking... What emerges is the definitive film about 60s counterculture: its global and conspiratorial fantasies, its euphoric collective utopias, and its descent into solitude, madness, and dissolution.

  • A post-May '68 lament, sure, but also a tickling "game of patience," a Balzacian lecture delivered by Eric Rohmer, a matchless succession of deadpan gags, a mirror reflecting into infinity: Rivette's transformative "pure hazard," couched in the bare image that holds a thousand enigmas.

  • Like all great art, one's relationship with Out 1 eventually takes on the contours of one's relationship with an actual person: There's so much more to know about them, and the vaguely troubling sense that you may never get to know all of it. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. For now, maybe we should simply leave it at this: It’s an ambitious attempt by one of our greatest filmmakers to evoke the beauty, frustration, and mystery of existence, and all the forces that act upon it.

  • Jean-Luc Godard may be France’s best-known political filmmaker, but Jacques Rivette is its subtlest one. “All power to the imagination” was one of May ’68’s most memorable slogans, and Out 1 is a perfect example of what it would mean in practice.

  • As Rivette himself said of this unequaled project, “the fiction swallows everything up and then self-destructs.” As a spectator, I also found myself devoured by Out 1, which dictated my diurnal activities for most of last week. But the experience, rather than annihilating, proved reinvigorating, a reminder of the rewards of succumbing totally to a work that breaks and remakes all preconceived notions of what it means to watch.

  • It's in effect a serial, in eight ninety-plus-minute chapters, TV-ready but defined by Rivette as a consuming theatrical experience. It consumes, all right, like a drug that won't fade, but it's also a lark, a metafiction without any reality, a magnificent irrelevance.

  • What makes Rivette’s epic more than the sum of its whimsical parts are its undercurrents of regret and melancholy, layers that build in poignancy the deeper into their respective rabbit holes these characters wade.

  • In testing the porousness of the border between narrative and experimental film, and peppering the work with galvanic, surprising, “did that actually happen” events (as when Ms. Berto seems to endure a brutal beating from a leather-clad biker), Mr. Rivette’s movie delivers an experience that is deeply satisfying precisely because it’s kind of exhausting.

  • Rivette would go on to make fuller-bodied novel-to-screen transpositions, but Out 1, occasionally tedious but in the main totally entrancing, turns out to be the adaptation to end all adaptations, a sort-of Balzacian narrative about the charmed quality of texts themselves. Taking a good long look at various group dynamics, the film lays bare the way that what we read changes, often arbitrarily and often not, the way we read each other.

  • The mere achievement of finally seeing it paled beside the fact that this unwieldy, near-plotless monstre sacré of a film turned out to be so captivating, so formally fascinating, and so damned watchable, that the breaks between each of the eight episodes that comprise the film were unwelcome, and I actively resented being sent home on Saturday night to await the next day’s final installments. I was immersed in it, and did not want to be ejected.

  • This is the most thoroughly and authentically paranoid movie ever made, its overtones of conspiracy and cryptic meaning so pronounced that they extend the borders of fiction out into the real world; a viewer may exit the theater, but they don’t really exit Out 1 for a solid week after.

  • Having long awaited Rivette’s film myself, I wish I could report that it’s a nearly lost and newly rediscovered masterwork... But it’s not a masterwork. The ecstatic drive at its core is only rarely realized. Its fury for cinema rarely finds its images. Its love of performance often does its performers no favors. Nonetheless, “Out 1” is a work of genius by a genius whose ultimate failure here, in this madly ambitious project, is his very subject.

  • Hoping for a conventionally satisfying payoff is a waste of time, but so is assuming this is a mere work of pretentious buffoonery, whose creator brandishes its great length like a jam-band playing at a crappy music festival. Its staggering runtime may be there to trick you, but not like a gimmick would; the "trick" in this film is the trick on which all of cinema is based. It will return your filmic expectations to zero, detoxifying any "accumulated errors."

  • The contingent, the unforeseeable and uncontrollable, is a privileged element in much 20th-century experimental art—in music and painting as much as in film and literature—and Out 1 honors it to the maximum. But giving actors their head as much as Rivette does here brings a particular urgency to the idea of fictional characters controlling their own fates: here, the characters genuinely emerge as a result of the performances evolving in particular ways.

  • Structurally indebted to the early silent serials and inspired by Honoré de Balzac’s La Comédie humaine, it is a freewheeling, multi-stranded epic, loosely involving a secret society operating in Paris following the failed revolution of 1968. Screenings have been exceptionally rare, adding to the film’s mystique. It is a singular experience, undoubtedly demanding, but hugely rewarding.

  • More successfully than the now countless others that have tried, Jacques Rivette’s Out 1 is a film that eludes succinct description. Every level of the film’s text, and every moment in the history of the film, has been animated by an adamant preference for circulation over transmission, flow over fixity. In order to make use of the film’s enormous power, we should reject every instantiation of this preference with an equal insistence.

  • One of the charms of the film is its 16mm matter-of-factness and the rather faded minestrone of its colours. Not to mention the quite determined way in which ‘action’ is dealt with gradually or at a calm distance, to avoid undue excitement.

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    Film Comment: Nicholas Elliott
    January 04, 2016 | January/February 2016 Issue (p. 74)

    If Noli me tangere purposefully neglects the conventions of exposition, Spectre is downright reckless... While Noli invites us to witness a melancholy madness that is the hangover of the Sixties, Spectre leaves us no choice but to experience it firsthand. It is the Out we are inside. Yet both films display a radical faith in the viewer, whether by asking us to be patient or to fill in the gaps. For those willing ot go along, the dividends are endless.

  • The word is casual. The world, too. In Jacques Rivette’s seminally bizarre, alluringly demanding twelve-hour-plus opus Out 1 (1971), listless Parisians float into one another’s lives as if they live in an incestuously tiny village. They come, they go, they never quite collide. They drift: their stories, if they can be called that, don’t so much intertwine with dramatic intricacy as overlap prettily like translucent jellyfish.

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