Sean Burdett’s review published on Letterboxd:
100 Years 137/646
Scavenger Hunt #78 3/30
Based on what I had read about this, my expectations were wildly off-base from my experience with the film. I saw so many people claim that it was "an endurance test" or that the first 4 hours were "unbearably boring", but this ended up being one of the most consistently entertaining films I've seen in a very long time. The theater rehearsals are immediately gripping, expressing a raw passion for the art-form and filled with so much life. Time constraints relating to the production led to long-takes and "mistakes"(boom mics, shadows of crew members, etc) being left in lending itself to slight Brechtianisms(we are watching people make a movie about people making a play, their creation is itself a creation, art is celebrating its own existence because the passion on display is reflected behind the camera, etc) which lend to a lovely dual-viewing of the film, further enhancing the passion in front of our eyes. The rehearsal sequences are carried by great performances across the board that all make the film effortlessly engaging and fun to watch(or: participate in as a non-physical member of either troupe). It's all so lovely, passionate, and fun it's just kinda sad to me how many people say they love the film but find the opening boring when it's just so goddamn fun and beautiful!! The film then devolves into a series of endlessly complex subplots that are practically impossible to keep track of which makes it all the more fun. I was always fully engaged trying to hold onto each thread, but failing because each exchange, scene, or image was so well put-together that I kept losing myself in the moment. It's such an incredible experience to find yourself in the midst of mystery and intrigue, with the mystery being completely engaging, yet never feeling like it clouds out the moment-to-moment experience of the film. It's an almost liberating viewing experience as you just get so much time to chew on the characters, threads, locations, and so on, with it all being thoroughly enrapturing and beautiful. Rather ironically, I'd say this is the least dense Rivette from a thematic standpoint; the commentary doesn't really move beyond the May '68 allegories, broad strokes about artistic passion, and some concepts surrounding identity(I guess this sounds like a good bit, but it's very slight for something this long), but that's what I love about it so much! It's wholly unconcerned with grand statements or important ideas and finds strength in simplicity, love, and passion. We dwell on free-flowing artistic expression and goddammit, it's beautiful! It's overflowing with love for art and artistic creation and I am to so I love this movie! Everything about this is so carefully put together, yet it all feels so effortlessly, like something that's being cast to the screen at the moment it's created. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Love every inch of this thing, can't wait to check it out again to see what other secrets it may hold(kicking myself for not copping the blu ray when I was looking at it about a year ago, but I guess I'll be getting that soon enough)!