Out 1

Out 1 ★★★★

Over the last five days, I’ve slowly been chipping away at Out 1 by watching it in the structure of episodes like a TV miniseries. It’s just the way Mubi had it and I honestly can’t fathom watching this any other way. At nearly 13 hours Out 1 is by far the biggest endurance test I’ve ever sat through, not just for movies but for literally anything I’ve done, seen, or played in life. It does live up to being an incredible feat of filmmaking, but I don’t know how much I exactly enjoyed it, and it’s challenging to talk about and digest once the credits roll for the final time.

Considering the absolute mammoth length of Out 1 and how it’s paced and written I genuinely have no idea where to start when talking about it. A bit cliche to say it, but Rivette seriously pushes the ideas of narrative and moviemaking to the absolute brink in ways that I’ve never seen before and never want to see again. It’s a really neat experiment to watch play out, but most of the film feels like extreme realism between relationships and conversation. There are legitimate sequences where avant-garde theatrical troupes spend over 30 minutes “rehearsing.” This is just as grating to watch as it sounds.

The ensemble is also so tremendously large that it quickly becomes easy to get lost and have a hard time following along. This is balanced out by the fact that very little actually happens over the 13 hours you're stuck watching the film. The actual “plot” or what is there to be considered seriously doesn’t even get going for multiple hours into the film. It’s all an exercise in patience and realism as Rivette uses the audience as test subjects for his little experiment. It’s something that feels very interesting to play out, there is nothing else like it and for that level of skill and daringness on display I respect the fuck out of it even if I wasn’t exactly having fun for a lot of the runtime.

It really doesn’t matter how much you claim you love movies or how much you believe you can put up with Out 1, it is going to push you to your absolute limit and find out where your tolerance for the experimental nature of the film is going to get to you. In some ways, the style of even how Rivette chooses to shoot the film, how he stretches these techniques to their limit and builds a film around his dialogues is the logical ending point for the innovations that French New Wave brought forth. It’s all pushed as far as possible here, some to great effect others to grating effect. Out 1 is not a film for everybody, hell it's barely a film for anybody, but if you can get through all 743 minutes you’re going to be left with a once in a lifetime experience that can not be replicated anywhere else. I may not have had a great time watching Out 1 throughout the last five days, but it sure as hell left a strong impression on me when I finally finished it.

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