Neil Bahadur’s review published on Letterboxd :
"September or October 1980 - already a part of history."
"Babylon - for both of us."
One of the most spectacular adventure films - a real epic where everything is something so far different from its physical appearance. Objects are toys for the imagination - and Paris isn't a nightmare but a game of Snakes and Ladders. A city as a grid, while a 2 hour conversation plays out - intoxicatingly conspiratorial as much as a simple game of determining whether our lives themselves are determined by chance or fate.
Is this Paris or Babylon? Paris is undergoing developments and changes - construction is ongoing everywhere - and we see a city de-romanticized in the past and it's future. So objects aren't as much toys for the imagination as much as they have to be - otherwise they are incomprehensible. Baptiste comes out of no-where, Marie has just come out of jail - what is true of both are trying to find their way through a new world which can only find oppressive. So they revolt and in doing so create their own geography of the world. Is Marie claustrophobic? Maybe that would make "plot-sense," (as if anyone looking for 'plot-sense' should be looking at a Rivette film in the first place), or is it that because of the incomprehension brought on by these unnecessary developments and pointless construction that all interior spaces become oppressive by principal? In Denis's doc, Rivette notes that the 'staganation' of late 70's - early 80's Paris was a key inspiration for this. Because Rivette is so often so inspired, so spiritual, such a mystic - we forget that most of the time he is just as political as the best of his peers were.
And still at the end, is it chance or fate which make Marie and Baptiste befriend each other...by chance? And Baptiste kills a man - a short time we think the game has gone too far, (Marie calls Baptiste insane) but then it turns out Baptiste was correct herself when Marie herself is killed!
"The kata is a fight with imaginary enemies."
Here is a film where the spectacle is what is in front of you every-day of your life.