Out 1

Out 1 ★★★★★

Jacques Rivette’s legendary 12 and a half hour serial is Feuillade made modern, where the director uses an expansive running time to tell various mystery stories (most of them unresolved) that serve as a psychic x-ray of the 1960s French counterculture and the apotheosis of the entire Nouvelle Vague. Rivette intercuts between four different plots: two seemingly unrelated theater troupes rehearse different Aeschylus plays while two seemingly unrelated con artists (Jean-Pierre Leaud and Juliet Berto) ply their trades in the cafes and streets of Paris. The con artists each receive information about “the 13,” a secret society with its origins in Balzac that may or may not currently exist. Their investigations lead them into interactions with various members of the theater troupes as Rivette slowly brings his narrative threads together and reminds us why paranoid conspiracy theories are paradoxically comforting: they make us feel that disparate meaningless events are related and therefore ultimately meaningful. An intellectually vigorous, terrifying, funny, challenging and, dare I say it, life-altering work.