Gowtham’s review published on Letterboxd:
Somewhere along the way, I realized I was experiencing that which normally I don't get the pleasure of experiencing. Less of a film, but an amalgamation of everything that comes to mind when you talk about the iconoclastic new wave movement of French cinema, or the culmination of Bazin's dream, or just plain spontaneous film making. What Jacques Rivette managed to create is but a cinematic dream that somehow could substitute cinematic reality. It's not easy to talk about Out 1, unless you resort to some word games.
Halfway in, I found myself totally disoriented and challenged by whatever was going on in here. The nervous energy, and the ever persistent air of mystery this film had, really did make it hard to consume. But that's where I was wrong, - consume? No way someone could get past this mammoth of a work, in expectation of consuming it and in the end getting something in return, like most films. But as I did deny that in the beginning, this is less of a film. But through episode 5, I started to bring my guards down a bit, I knew this one won't take me where I want it to. And It didn't anyway felt like this work had any real goal. As I was exploring the film in real time, the film along with its characters were exploring itself. When the moment coincided and I was ready for it this time, I began to feel a strange connection, in a certain way I started to vibe with something I considered untouchable. And for the first time, I accompanied the spirit of this film as it was making up stuff, in a frenzy of improvised acts, in faith of finding an ultimate goal, whatever that is. This made the film all the more self aware, spontaneous, and a hearty culmination of the new wave trajectory. It would have taken Nostradamus to predict the existence of such a work in the late 50s, but it sure was supposed to reach here. That's a certain peak, Rivette took French cinema to. That's why he is a brilliant brilliant son of a bitch. Well, that's one of the reason anyway.
Out 1 is a long improvisation, the kind Cassavetes would trip on. And whatever plot one managed to figure out from this maddeningly interconnected space only added to the mystery. The plot was something like a spider web that spanned the imperfect streets of Paris, caught between a shit load of characters and a secret society called the thirteen. Some of these characters had multiple names in multiple situations and some were not shown anywhere in the film. Those who were shown are not completely laid out too. Of course these characters are portrayed as real as a documentary could, but the mystery was always there. The actors, such a gifted group of people were the sole reason this film worked. Incredible performances from Juliette Berto as Federique and Jean-Pierre Leaud as Colin. Thanks to these actors, in the end the film became almost indistinguishable from the reality. As I watched this post my awakening towards its essence, I even started to voluntarily forget it was a film at all. Because, for one, it didn't feel like one, and secondly if I did, I may end up hating the experience. On the contrary, I began to find pleasure in the little things, in just hanging out with the characters like you are actually with them in Paris, and to enjoy all the different moments of pure improvisations and interactions that were starting to get more funnier and interesting than before. Just because I wasn't invested in it the way I usually do. That made this work magnetic, and I finished the rest of the episodes in no time, at ease. It was actually very easy to watch this film. The most hardest thing since then was writing this awful review.
PS: There is nothing like Out 1 in the vast cinematic universe.