Around a Small Mountain ★★★½

“Who knows?”  

Perhaps the only Rivette film that takes place in the real world as (well as) we know it. Ostensibly lovely and pure, perhaps hiding something, even if it’s only a slight thing. All anticipated toying with and elliptical tampering with the mise en scene, with what is internally, externally possible has diffused by this point, to the point of being the passé matter of sideshows in the face of the main attraction of life: regrets and missed opportunities, building everyday, weighing the spirit down. Rivette, ever the prestidigitator, never the ironic, concludes on as amusingly ambiguous a note as he always has, complicating the text of the film and his filmography alike*, of his view on what it means to pass through life, press through it, charge even, obfuscating and lending insight into which agonies, mysteries might just be bearable, resolvable in the greater and smaller scheme of things, which are here to stay, always coming, happening again.

*e.g. the ending line, quoted above, being the name of one of his less well-received films, perhaps suggesting something was missed there, perhaps returning to the conversation had there. It is after all picking up where his more theatrical, even more meta-textual pieces (L’Amour Fou, Celine..., Love on the Ground, Gang Of Four) left off in their musings.

Alan Jeffrey liked these reviews