Out 1

Out 1 ★★★★

It's got a gun and it's got a girl, so it's cinema. I think the only thing I can do right now is transcribe the notes I made to myself while I was watching it. Sustained thought? It's usually beyond me... and I want to read up on secondary materials before I commit to anything.

Episode 1:

It's absolutely a sequel to L'Amour Fou -- in that one, the characters were struggling against the collapse of meaning, and in this one, they're reveling in it.

Is Leaud building a new super-structure of meaning that can replace the dead one? I don't yet know what he's doing here, but I've read that he's creating a conspiracy-theory like unto the one in Paris Nous Appartient, which would mean it isn't exactly a *new* structure.

Unlike most people, I could watch these alt-theatre rehearsals forever and ever.

Well, maybe not that long.

Technical point: the rise and fall of intensity, the changes in tone and texture, in the actors' vocalizations creates the audio equivalent of a panning shot, moving from point A to point B in terms of what-is-heard rather than what-is-seen. There's a moment where I recognized I'd been so engrossed in tracking along with the sounds that I'd spaced on the visual pan that followed the actors as they moved across the floor.

Narrative itself is a tracking shot, always moving from point A to Point B.

Is Leaud a zen monk... or samurai? Or is he an avatar of Dr. Mabuse, the way his framing in that 'rubber-stamping envelopes' sequence suggests?

Occasional striking variations on shot/reverse shot film-grammar, where a sudden switch from privileging one character to privileging another highlights momentary changes in the power-dynamic between characters. First one I noticed was during the mirror exercises between the doughy guy and his partner, then another in the cafe scene where some gal is looking for her brother, which reminded me of how startling the first one had been.

Leaud blowing his harmonica, creating for himself a new way to communicate, just like the actors are doing. Just like everybody presumably has to do after 1968.

Leaud tearing books up. See above. Everybody also has to find new ways of interacting with the rich tapestry of western civ. Echoed, I think, in the last rehearsal sequence of Ep. 1, where the guy in the white linen tunic is hiding behind the radiator consulting some books in a not-very-reverent way.

Episode 2

For somebody who thinks a certain way about gender, and wants to give recognition to the 'hidden work' of women's culture -- the stuff that isn't acknowledged within the cultural canon -- it makes perfect sense to focus on actors as a plot element. Acting's a discipline that requires as much depth as any other to master, but it's focused on the practitioner's own body and on emotional traits of empathy and understanding. Coded 'feminine', wot?

The movie's a mock-epic parody of that "Mysteries Of A City" genre of novels that was popular circa Balzac -- Mysteries Of Paris, Mysteries Of London, The Monks Of Monk Hall (Mysteries Of The Quaker City) etc. Unrelated characters and disparate subplots that gradually come together for the purpose of (purportedly) showing the hidden workings of a city's dynamic, as played out in an "underworld" imaginary.

Episode 3

Le sord-muet FINALLY figured out the 'boojum' clue. Red herring dropped in there to make the audience feel smarter than the characters?

I still don't know what role the hustling gal is going to play in all of this.

Her childhood-regression moments -- counting games, hopscotch, children's rhymes -- are those an attempt to create cultural narrative as performed by someone who doesn't have significant grounding in the western-civ canon, like the actors or the Balzac dude have?

Or is she losing her grasp of consensus-reality, like the woman in L'amour fou?

The actors 'theorizing' violence, vs her living it as a daily reality.

Thomas the dough-boy reveals that he isn't as egalitarian and consensus-driven as all that. I had intimations all along that he was fronting to some extent -- his improv style doesn't seem altogether as "woke" as I would expect.

Leaud getting his 'derive' on! Trendy...

Episode 4

Echo of five questions/three questions improv scene...

Episode 5

So much narrative!

Characters in each of the three subplots have changed direction; Colin's distracted from his search for the 13 by his romantic feelings for the owner of the hippie-shop... the actors give up on the play they're developing and hit the streets to go look for somebody... and Frederique has her blackmail game going, which seems to be the first time she's actually had a concrete agenda for herself.

Watching Thomas bring outsiders into the theatre group and dilute their vision looks like the process by which revolutionist org.s get coopted and mainstreamed.

Poor Frederique is so out of her depth...

Episodes 6 - 8

I did a little bit of reading, almost by accident, before I watched today's episode, and I'm shocked... SHOCKED... to discover how many major plot points I failed to notice because I was so much in-the-moment with the texture of the characters' dailyness. I didn't realize Renaud had stolen that money...

I hadn't even realized that there were two discrete theatre groups, I thought it was just one group in varied configurations of members.

Now that it has settled down into plotfulness, I find myself to be less interested overall.

Oh, my, that series of long-take scenes where characters finally reveal parts of themselves to the camera -- Emilie and (?) in that "why are you looking at me like that" scene, then Lilie and (?) as they discuss their behind-the-scenes activities and reveal how Pierre manipulated Colin, and Thomas falling apart on the beach...

I wasn't totally down with Emilie's moment of truth where she revealed that any political stuff was secondary, for her, to her emotional connections with the mens... but that's sorta true for a lot of the characters, including Colin, so it wasn't intended as a girl thing.

Are we supposed to understand L'Obade as being a squatted house? I didn't have any sense of that until Ep 7-8, when we saw it looming behind them with boarded up windows + air of decay... but that would explain some earlier bits of dialogue maybe. Still, it sure is fixed up nice and pretty on the inside.

Puns and allusions:
L'Obade = "aubade"? As in 'dawn of a new day' or something?
Renaud = Reynard? Fox? Trickster?

How everybody ends up:

Reverted back to old lifestyle and activities as though nothing had ever happened
Abandoned and creatively bankrupted
Unchanged, still in control of the little threads of organized something that were in their grasp all along...

An allegory of the '68 moment? A few people (at least) were *this close!* to figuring everything out, but ultimately the status quo reasserted itself, fundamentally unchanged.

I guess that's all I've got right now. Not yet time for a rewatch, nope, nuh-uh. Let the wide-ranging and endless discussion begin!

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