Out 1

Out 1 ★★★★★

I loved looking at the two acting troupes going about their daily routines of practice. Both groups are workshopping texts by Aeschylus, but seem to start from wholly different perspectives: one tries to build out fully fledged characters from some prelinguistic, child-like place by playing improvisatory games in which players have to react spontaneously to the stimuli of the others in the group; the other group doesn't try to create embodied characters, but instead spends its time perfecting their vocal instruments as the director conducts their voices like an orchestra (shouting, screaming, grunting) or as the troupe reads Aeschylus's dialogue over and over to make sure the rhythm and intonation is perfect.

It is interesting to think about which troupe's method might align most with Rivette's film project. The first group's acting philosophy dominates quite a bit: as in the scene where Ogier and Leaud serve each other jam on the sofas; Leaud asks questions and Ogier responds; the two have this perfect, awkward, extremely natural rapport with one another. In a way, in a scene like this (with Ogier knowingly giggling at the weirdness of the scene where all there is to "do" is sit and eat jam) it almost doesn't matter where the character and Ogier's real-life persona begin/end: the actor and the performance are entirely fused. This type of naturalism is what the first group seems to try to unlock with their improvisatory exercises. To act without thinking. Still, the second group's acting method (working from pure sounds and words) also holds sway over much of movie's feel. It is the cryptic puzzles of words themselves that generates OUT 1's paranoiac streak: Rivette is fascinated by the way they sound (when Leaud repeats the excerpt of Balzac again and again, charging through the Paris streets) and the way they look (when Leaud takes apart Balzac/Carroll's texts letter by letter on a chalkboard).